Coming soon to eFiction! I’m getting published!


Breaking news! I’m getting published again!

A story of mine has just been accepted by the literary magazine eFiction, one of the fine publications of! The piece is called Painted Blue Eyes, and it’s a creepy little piece I wrote over several months with the Busan Writing Group.

In this story, a dark childhood memory comes to the surface, as a senior art student helps his last living relative move from her old house. As they clean, Gregory uncovers a familiar painting that his beloved Aunt Beatrice has hidden for years. A painting tainted with splashes of old blood.

Of course there’ll be more about this story as I learn its eventual publication date. Until I know more, allow me this moment to celebrate.








Thanks for indulging me.

Busan Writing Group, June 17 – Pitches, please!

This week we looked at pitches for stories – the 250-word summary of a story that a writer has to compose to get the attention of agents and publishers.

The Busan Writing Group first took a look at pitches written by one of our members. The stories looked awesome – some of them were ones we’ve run through our critique process before. The main difficulty with the pitches was the complexity – there was a lot going on, and it was difficult to boil down the most important info into 250 words.

We then looked over the most popular choices for Pitchapalooza 2015, over at the Book Doctors. Popular votes from readers favored the weird and offbeat. The key to gaining votes seemed to be setting up a weird or creepy situation right at the start, or to present an everyday situation and then have a quick twist that makes it weird.

Last, we looked over the winners of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. These winning pitches were simple and to the point, clearly outlying what to expect in the story. When weirdness entered into these pitches, it was clearly integrated – we found we could easily understand how the unusual factors really affect the characters. This was key to any appreciation of the pitches – for fantasy or sci-fi elements to mean anything and sell the story, we have to know what those elements mean to the characters who have to deal with them.

My general takeaway from all this:

It’s damn hard to simplify a story and get the most important details across in a meaningful way. However, that is the exact skill needed for a great pitch – the skill of delivering major plot points, along with how they affect relatable characters, in a quick, simple way.

Easy to see why it’s so damn hard, huh?


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Where will I submit my serial fiction?


Serial Fiction Looks Like Fun!

As I write and rewrite the first 3 chapters of a story that will be released in serial, bite-size chunks, I look at where I’m going to send it. I think this is about the only way I could get a novel done – I need the constant feedback, and I need readers to see the ongoing story before the entire thing is finished.

Today’s post focuses on – where can I send this crazy idea once I have it written?

Here’s what come up in Google – the Top 5 Serial Publishers according to a blog post from 2013, and Where to Read or List Serials, last updated in January 2015.

To me, here are the most promising choices:

JukePop – Unlike a lot of places that handle serial online fiction, this one has a proper submission process. They seem to have a decent readership, and a Kickstarter-esque funding scheme for authors who get positive ratings from readers. A big downside is that their system can only pay American authors working in the US. I’ve heard that they are working on a way to handle non-Americans. Even so, it looks like a good bet for feedback as I write.

Wattpad – I’m seriously considering this. It’s all free, but with an established reader-base. Even though Wattpad is meant to handle fiction in all forms, many authors release their work serially and use the feedback to keep going. However, the lack of any review process before posting is a huge turnoff – it is hard to attract serious readers to a site where anything goes, regardless of quality,

Big World Network – I love the way this site treats serial fiction just like TV episodes. The site features a crisp, clean format that is easy to navigate. It looks like they have a community to help out with cover art, marketing, and other such tasks. They have a formal submission process, and considering they run 21 serials at once, either the rejection rate must be high or the waiting list long. It’s worth a try, though – they sell the complete works on Amazon, and produce audiobooks from them!

Of course there are many more – these 3 stand out from my personal research.

Do you know another serial fiction publisher? Have you tried this crazy thing yourself?

I’d love to hear from you!



Wednesday Writing Club, June 10

Wednesday Writing Club – A pitch, and a well-revised story

Just a quick one today – the Busan Writing Club had a nice little meeting tonight, and we talked about the pitch I wrote for a sci-fi serial story which I am getting in gear. My pitch was a mess – I tried hard to include details as suggested by David Henry Sterry, but I ended up cramming way too much into 250 words. Too much detail, too much complication. It all means a lot more work for me as I look for a simple, yet unique way to present the soul of my story in 250 words or fewer.

The other submission was a work by our member Clare, and wow did it ever look better than mine! She had the 8th draft of an excellent bit of literary fiction told from a young Irish girl’s point of view. It’s really amazing how the story has shaped into a compelling, melancholy tale of a girl and her father’s mental illness. All of us wish Clare good luck as she enters the story into a newspaper contest in her home country of Ireland.

Anyway, guess what the next Busan Writing Club is all about? Pitches!

Yup, our meeting on June 17 will be all about dissecting successful pitches to see what makes them tick. You can bet there’ll be an update on this very blog after the event.

Are you in Busan? Nearby? Send me a private message and let me know!


Easily one of the most enjoyable blogs on my reading list, and this poem shows some of the eclectic brilliance found there.



Cuthbert was cursed with very cold hands

Even upon a hot summer’s day

His mitts could warm up an ice bucketed beer

And warm beer is undrinkable they say

As for the gals poor Cuthbert despaired

Not a lass would give him time of day

For when his hands roamed beneath a t-shirt

They always said ‘no’ not ‘OK’

Yet Cuthbert’s luck was shortly to change

When an Inuit girl caught his eye

He determined that she would be used to the cold

And if he touched her she wouldn’t cry

How cruel life can be for Cuthbert you see

Was arrested for common assault

In his keenness to ‘touch’ he quite forgot

His lack of manners was a dangerous fault

As the judge pointed out, “Cold hands or not

A lady prefers to be wooed

And just because she’s from the frozen north

Don’t you think she found cold…

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#IWSG June 2015 – The Problem with Sixfold, and How It Should Work

This isn't just about not getting my own submissions to Sixfold published, I swear.


This is about a wonderful idea that should work  – the idea of an all-writer-voted, open-to-all writing journal for fiction. handles this in a way which sounds wonderful at first. Everybody who participates in each submission contest is tasked with critiquing 6 other pieces of work, and rating them on a scale of 1 to 6. After each round, the slush pile is reduced to the top third. After 3 rounds, the top 3 submissions win money, and the top 15 are featured in the journal.

Sounds cool, right?

Sure, if you are already a very, very good author, or at least a very popular one!

Chances are pretty high you’ll be out after the first round. You won’t know it, though – the process does not let you know when you’re tossed out. You are still expected to give 18 critiques over the 3 rounds.

At the end, you’ll likely find that you didn’t even get 6 critiques. In my case, only 3 of the people who saw my story even made some kind of comment, and only 2 of those offered any usable criticism (the remainder was nigh-incomprehensible). The others who saw my story left a rating only, a meaningless number that does not help me improve.

IF you are lucky or skilled enough to make round two, you’ll get a maximum of 12 ratings and maybe 12 critiques. IF you are extremely lucky or skilled and make the third round, you might get one critique for every critique you gave.

But you won’t need them as badly! Your story would already be damn good if it got that far!

A little cost-benefit analysis here:

What are you most likely to end up with?

6 ratings, and a few useful comments, if you’re lucky.

What do you put in?

If you’re like me and appreciate the spirit of the venture, you put in 18 thoughtful critiques along with rankings.

What do most people put in?

A number, plus comments that come break down to either “Sorry, didn’t like it” or “Hey, this is kind of good, but the others were better”. Or no comment at all.

Making it better.

The basic system of a vote-based submission process is wonderful. There has to be more incentive, though. If I give 18 critiques, then I want to get some good thoughts back from others. Here’s what I’d like to see in a Sixfold-like system:

  1. Throw out the lowest 1/3, but only after the first round. This (should) remove the stuff that nobody wants to waste time considering seriously.
  2. Let people know their entries didn’t make the top 2/3. They need to spend more time learning to write, and can thus be excused from further critiquing.
  3. Keep the remaining 2/3 through Round 2 and 3. This lets a variety of readers see each work, meaning there’s a much better chance that authors get good feedback.
  4.  The final rating for each story comes from the results of 3 rounds. The top 15 stories make the publication, but every story that survived the first round has 18 ratings.
  5. Folks who consistently leave good critiques, rather than just leaving a number, need to be recognized. I admit – I’m not sure how to make this happen!

Other thoughts? Has anybody seen a vote-based system like Sixfold’s that worked well? Would love to hear the Insecure Writers Support Group‘s thoughts on this!