LAST CALL: Writing Science Fiction: From Start to Finish

Final reminder…don’t miss out!

I’ll be leading a four week workshop at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, KY beginning Monday, September 8th, 5:30pm.

Join three-time Hugo Award-nominated editor and writer Jason Sizemore as he takes you through the process of writing a science fiction short story. He will also lead you in finding suitable markets for your story. You will study popular modern stories as a guideline to the the craft of writing shorter works. Every student will create a new science fiction short story that will be polished so it is ready for submission to a publications [ALL LEVELS]

For more information about the Writing Science Fiction workshop and to register click here!

Each class is on a Monday and starts at 5:30 and runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

I’m also running a Writing Horror: From Start to Finish beginning October 6th, because Halloween.

For more information about the Writing Horror workshop and to register click here!

I hope you can come and write a new short story with me!

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Streets of Shadows cover reveal and preorders

Today I write a happy blog post about a story I sold that will soon be published. That story is titled “God Needs Not the Future.” This one has the end of the world, a detective with an emerging superpower, a crazy preacher, Nephilim, and androids. And a flood.

The Streets of Shadows anthology edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon is now up for preorder.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193984021X/

Says Jerry Gordon:

We’ll be launching Streets of Shadows near the end of this month at Context in Columbus, Ohio.  Ten of the books contributors will be at the launch, including both editors and:  Gary Kloster, Jonathan Maberry, Daniel R. Robichaud, Jason Sizemore, Lucy Snyder, Lucien Soulban, Tim Waggoner, and Michael West.

Here’s the cool cover art:

Cover art by Rhys Griffiths

Cover art by Rhys Griffiths

Here is the opening paragraph to “God Needs Not the Future”:

Raindrops bled down the windshield of the old Winfield taxi parked along the curb of Fifth Street. A streetlamp hunched overhead, blasting a sodium-yellow haze, its light casting a crawling tattoo of shadows across the hard-angled face of Eleanor Bennett. Her gaze, unseen, scanned the chaos outside the car: police tape, deputies draped in yellow ponchos protecting the scene, the manic whirling of emergency vehicles, the usual crowds of protestors. A preacher on the radio predicted end times, but then, didn’t they always?

Good intentions and all that

There is nothing like cruel reality to give you a good whack in the face, is there? Speaking from the writer’s perspective, one of the most painful whacks is an act I’m guilty of committing many, many times as an editor: the dreaded “It is good, but it just doesn’t work for me.

How many times have you gotten that rejection? I’ve written short stories only intermittently for the last 8 years, and I’ve heard this refrain many times in rejection letters…I would venture dozens of times.

“Your story is awesome. But you see, the story…it doesn’t click for me.”

As an editor, when I rejected stories in this manner, I always meant well. I meant it as a compliment. I meant it as a “Hey, you’re a swell writer and all, but me and this story didn’t click, so we’re just going to be friends, okay?”

Good intentions and all that.

The problem with being a frequent reader of all the top zines is that you get a damn good feel for the type of work they prefer to publish. When you submit to these publications and you receive the “It’s not you, it’s me” rejection excuse, it can be annoying. You see what they’ve published. You feel that the story you sent the editor is just as strong and enjoyable. Heck, they say as much in their rejection.

It just didn’t click.

Fine. So you sit back and watch the editor buy and publish story after story you feel is no better than yours. But you’re left in the rejection box. You play nice. You smile and you welcome any feedback you can get from the editor.

So like any good writer, you turn around and submit it the next nice publication on the list. They tell you the same goddamn thing.

Oh, that’s nice.

Now your confidence wobbles. What is it about the story that turns the editors off? They say they like the story, but obviously not in ‘that publishing way’. Successful writers have the ability to figure this out, to write work that is attractive enough to hook the editors’ hearts. Right now, I’m at that stage where I’m standing like a fool under a spotlight scratching at my head thinking “Uh, what did I do wrong?”

With all my editing experience, I feel like I should have a better grasp of this. Currently, I do not. And perhaps I have hubris considering my work as good as some of the stuff published in the top tier magazines…okay, yes, major hubris. Hey, being confident isn’t a sin, y’all!

So…at least I can take home one lesson learned from this experience of double rejection within a 5 day period…

…telling somebody that you just want to be friends with someone’s story is something you must do with care and extreme volition.

Pardon me while I go hug my story and eat a tub of ice cream (chocolate, of course).

 

Writing Science Fiction: From Start to Finish

I’ll be leading a four week workshop at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, KY beginning Monday, September 8th, 5:30pm.

Join three-time Hugo Award-nominated editor and writer Jason Sizemore as he takes you through the process of writing a science fiction short story. He will also lead you in finding suitable markets for your story. You will study popular modern stories as a guideline to the the craft of writing shorter works. Every student will create a new science fiction short story that will be polished so it is ready for submission to a publications [ALL LEVELS]

For more information about the Writing Science Fiction workshop and to register click here!

Each class is on a Monday and starts at 5:30 and runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

I’m also running a Writing Horror: From Start to Finish beginning October 6th, because Halloween.

For more information about the Writing Horror workshop and to register click here!

I’ve had a couple of people ask which stories will I be choosing for study. I’ve made up mind on the three I want to use, but I still need to ask the authors for permission so once I have that for each I’ll post an update here.

I hope you can come and write a new short story with me! (Sounds corny…sorry)

Author Achievement Unlocked: First Vlog review!

For the first time (as far as I can tell), somebody has reviewed my book on their Vlog.

Author Achievement Unlocked!

Reader Nicole Platania gives a pretty nice rundown of her favorite stories and why she likes them.

Nicole gets bonus kudos from me for capturing a lot of the symbolism and metaphors I placed throughout the stories that eluded most (if not all) reviewers. For example, “The Dead and Metty Crawford.” It’s a zombie story on the surface. But this whole story is a representation of Big Coal in southeast Kentucky. She gets that.

Well done, Nicole!

You can read a more detailed review on her website here: http://strangegirlinalittlehouse.blogspot.com/2014/08/irredeemable-by-jason-sizemore-review_10.html

Thank you for the review, Nicole!

Catch me at Gen Con next weekend!

Want to hear me talk about publishing, editing, and writing? Then come to Gen Con and be part of the Writer’s Symposium!

When: Aug 14-17

Where: Indianapolis, IN

Website: http://www.gencon.com/

While I won’t have an Apex table there this year, the Writer’s Symposium will have a booth in the vendor hall to sell Symposium authors’ books. So you’ll be able to pick up Irredeemable.

Apex authors/editors Maurice Broaddus, Jerry Gordon, and Jaym Gates will also be in attendance, so the Symposium will have copies of Dark Faith, Orgy of Souls, Dark Faith:Invocations, I Can Transform You, and War Stories.

If you read the website, it talks about Gen Con being the best four days of gaming in the world. Yet…it has a mighty impressive writing track. Outside of WorldCon/World Fantasy/World Horror this con is the best networking place to be for an author, editor, or publisher.

Writer’s Symposium Website: http://www.genconwriters.com/

My seminar schedule:

Friday 9am Editing: Editor Market Report
Friday 10am  Business of Writing: State of the Market
Saturday 11am Publishing: Small Press 244
Saturday 12pm Publishing: E-Publishing

Come on out! Say hi to me! Remember, I love coffee, so if you ask me to come have a cuppa with you, I just might.

 

Upcoming Appearances and miscellany

We’ve reached the time of year where I have a crazy amount of things happening.

The Farmer’s Market/Morris Book Shop Booth
June 7th, 9am-Noon, Saturday
Lexington, KYMari Adkins and I will be signing. Come get your fruit and your book in the same trip! Buy my book and I will buy you a strawberry.
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/675620412475597

The Morris Book Shop
June 8th, 2pm-4pm, Sunday
Lexington, KY
Mari Adkins will be signing copies of her new Apex novel Midnight. I’ll be present to help coordinate, to serve snacks, and to keep Mari out of trouble.
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/309159969208854/

Beaumont Public Library
Adult Summer Reading Event
June 9th, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Lexington, KY
I’ll be presenting on behalf of Apex Publications. I’ll also discuss Irredeemable.

I’m also recording a podcast Sunday evening, but that won’t come out until July. I’m positive I’ll be out of social spoons by Monday night. I like doing these types of things, but the shyness in me likes to sap my constitution.

So, if you do show up at any of these events, if you bring me coffee, I will give you a hug and smile.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, creativity at its peak

Even the damn artwork is amazing.

Even the damn artwork is amazing.

Jeff VanderMeer could have stopped writing a year ago before he finished his Southern Reach trilogy and I would still have called him one of the most interesting and original authors of our time. He’s an amazing world builder, and he’s my go to guy when I teach workshops and tell students to “be like this guy when creating your worlds.”

I’ll send them out to buy Annihilation and challenge them top that.

Yes, I like sending students on fool’s errands.

Even his nonfiction books overflow with originality. Have you checked out Wonderbook? Or what about Booklife? Two tomes about the craft of writing you can’t top in terms of knowledge AND entertainment.

His work with Hugo Award-winning editor and spouse Ann VanderMeer has been outstanding. He and Ann make a powerful editorial combination. The New Weird is considered by many the definitive bible of weird/interstitial short fiction. Another definitive anthology, Steampunk, edited by Ann and Jeff is required reading for authors considering trying their hand at the sub-genre.

Now, it seems, Jeff VanderMeer has taken a step into mainstream acceptance based on the strength of his work. Stephen King has been quoted as loving the Southern Reach trilogy. Short of James Patterson assigning one of his lackeys to write a version of ‘Southern Reach’ under the Patterson byline, you can’t get more mainstream than Stephen King.

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Letters to Cleo, Kay Hanley, and Ben Wyatt

During my youth, I had an incredible amount of…innocent…crushes on alternative female musicians. My college years spanned 1992-1996, a fantastic time to be following the nascent alternative scene. And I probably had a crush on every single one of them. Except for PJ Harvey…she frightened me (though I love her music).

For example…

There was Juliana Hatfield:

And Tanya Donelly of Belly:

And Shirley Manson of Garbage:

And Heather Nova:

But none of these alterna-chicks had my heart like Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo.

The pig tails, the blue eyes, the pop candy flowing from her lips…I am still smitten. “Here and Now” is a prime-cut relic of the mid-90s rock grrls era. My adoration of Kay Hanley and Letters to Cleo was cemented when a group of friends and I went to see the band at EKU in Richmond, KY at a cramped, small venue. Letters to Cleo rocked it for two hours. Kay Hanley was the real deal, she could sing like a champ. She sported a black T-shirt and black leather pants. That night remains one of the most fun evenings of my life.

I bought a signed CD (that I still have). And I bought this shirt (or one similar to it…that I don’t still have, sadly):

ltc

That’s Ben Wyatt (played by Adam Scott) from the NBC show Parks & Rec. In the season finale of Parks & Rec, Kay Hanley and the band make several appearances. Kay even gets a few lines. She gets to sing a few bars from “Here and Now.” My nostalgia meter shot through the roof. I’m still buzzing from the experience.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. Sometimes it can break your heart. Other times, it can create elation.

Kay Hanley. She creates elation.