Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dusting off the reprint

I finally did something I've been half considering for a while. I wrote a short story that got picked up in the anthology Strange Stories of Sand and Sea called Ouroboros Sleeps. It came out in 2008. It was a cool little story, I really liked it. I've always wondered about sending it out again to a market that accepts reprints. So along comes this submission call for an anthology titled Dead Bate 2, all about creatures of the sea. Perfect. I queried, gave them a summary of my story, and they said sure, send it on in.

The deadline is in July I seem to recall, so I'll find out then if it's been accepted. Either way, it's no skin off my nose, the thing was already written. All I had to do was hit "send." I did, however, fix a minor point in the story that really nagged me. The main character's name always bothered me, so I finally changed it. That alone was worth the effort. And if it gets accepted, I get a free antho full of short stories to read. A win-win. Yay!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jack's Back

I posted the intro to the next series for The Dark InSpectre, In Plain Sight. The first episode will run in 2 weeks. I am rubbing my hands with anticipation and glee.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rave Reviews

I was notified that a review of my short story/e-book The Killer Within was posted over at the Pen & Muse, and it was good!

Here it is:

"I very much enjoyed the repartee between Frank and his partner. I found myself a couple of times having a throw-back to Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order. Loved the premise. I'll try not to give it away, but the "paranormal" part of the book is very subtle. It's not at all a vampire/werewolf/magic type of paranormal, which is what I'm used to. But I thought the whole concept of how Kahn wove the paranormal element into an otherwise very normal plot was excellent.

"Some of the writing was a bit clumsy at times and the passive voice ran a little rampant, but honestly, this was a great read, especially for a short book. I have a feeling, based on the end of the story (which I won't give away so you can read it for yourself), that there are yet to be further stories about Frank and his task force. Very interesting story. If you're a fan of "The Wire" or "Law & Order", you'll probably enjoy this book."

Click here to read it on the site.

And then I just happened to cruise by the Amazon page where The Killer Within is located, and I saw a review I didn't even know about. This one has a great blurb:

"Crime families are using ordinary citizens to kill off opposing crime families. They drug them by slipping something in their drink or from a pin prick, leaving the person open to suggestions. They are told who to kill and then to kill themselves. The newspapers are calling these crimes 'Sleeper Murders'. A task force has been formed to catch the crime lords.

"There are twists and turns in this short story that will keep you eagerly turning pages. This is an excellent, thrilling, suspenseful story that will leave the reader wanting more."

Here's a link to this one, too.

So yay for me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Anthology update

I was very happy to see that the anthology I've submitted my most recent short story to has set a deadline of April 30. So that means responses will go out as stories are being read in May. Now, just thinking about it, I hope I don't get an early-May response, cuz the way these things work, rejections are usually the first responses to go out. But either way, I'm just happy a time frame has been set, unlike a few of my other submissions, which seem stuck in the void until Ragnarrok.

In other news, I believe I have a very good new first episode of the next story arc for The Dark InSpectre. Can't wait to unleash it upon the world!

Friday, March 19, 2010

End and Beginning, Mothwings go Spinning...


First of all, if any of you get that reference in the title, I'll be pretty damned impressed. Anyway, as you know, I posted the last episode of the first story arc of The Dark InSpectre earlier this week, bringing to a close a story I started writing about 5 years ago as close as I can figure. I've been thinking about that over the last few days, reflecting on what a journey that story has taken since I first dreamed the opening scene. It started out as a long short story, about 14,000 words. What does that make it, a novellete?

I submitted it to a couple of venues, got some feedback, was told the ending was completely out of character. And it was. So I revised it and then submitted it to the Baen slush board when their web magazine was first starting. It really split the editorial team there. Some liked it, some didn't. The managing editor at the time said that after reading it she felt like she needed to wash out her brain. Personally, if I can provoke that kind of reaction, I take that as a compliment. But it wasn't going to get kicked upstairs to the main editors. From some other feedback I'd been getting, I got the vibe that maybe it was too long. So I slashed it by about five thousand words.

And it did get kicked upstairs. I waited about a year and a half--and it got rejected. I was upset to say the least. For two reasons. One was the time frame, waiting that long is ridiculous for a professional caliber magazine. I don't care how busy you are writing novels. Get help. Also, I completely disagreed with the main flaw the editor had a problem with. He didn't buy the explanation for the existence of telepaths. What can I say? My explanation's pretty simple and has been used in many different forms and stories: genetic mutation triggered by radiation bombs that gets passed down. It's simple, it makes sense.

But the point was it got rejected. I also learned a valuable lesson. I shouldn't have shortened the story, I think that made it worse. So I patched it back up and looked for other markets. But not many magazines publish something of that length. So I waited and waited, and eventually put it on the back shelf. Then on a popular message board for scifi writers, I saw a posting by an editor who said she would serialize a longer piece if it was good enough. Bingo.

I got in touch with her and our collaboration was born. And let me tell you, the work didn't end there. Crystalwizard, as she is known, had me rework whole sections of the story. And you know what? It made the story better. And I learned and grew as a writer throughout the process. So in the end it worked out. That chapter is now closed. It was quite a journey. For a while, I despaired that this story that I absolutely had to tell would never see the light of day. I'm glad it has, but all stories end. Now it's on to the next story arc in the Dark InSpectre universe, and I'm totally psyched about it. Stay tuned, the ride has just begun.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dark InSpectre, episode 17

I'm posting this from Atlanta, and it's friggin' freezing down here, Mr. Bigglesworth!

Anyway, episode 17 of The Dark InSpectre is now up. It's the last episode of the current story arc, and it's the end of the line...for someone.

Here's an excerpt:
“Now, what about you, Jackie boy?” He pointed the las gun straight at my head. “Last time.
Who else knows?”
I was tired and beaten. I couldn’t even look at him. It was over, just let go.
I’m sorry Dee, I tried my best.
A sigh. “Nobody, Jimmy. Nobody else knows.”
A pause. “Goodbye Jackie, you were a good friend.”
I close my eyes and wait for the end.

I hope you enjoy reading half as much as I've enjoyed writing it:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Up, up and away...

I'm flying to Atlanta tomorrow for a business trip. The work will be exhausting, but that means 4 hours in a plane down and back, which means a lot of uninterrupted writing time. Woohoo!

It also means that I'll be on the road when I post the last episode in the current arc of The Dark InSpectre. So I will have to find an uninterrupted hour on Monday to do that. That may prove interesting....

Tune in then! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stamped and sent


After talking it over with my better half, I decided to send my story that just got rejected to a themed anthology that's currently taking submissions. It's called Doomology: The Dawning of Disasters. As you will no doubt have surmised, the theme is disasters, apocolyptic, manmade, naturally occurring, anything. It just so happens that my story, Music and Magnetism, is extremely appropriate for this. And I would wager, if I were a wagering man mind you, that nobody will have thunk up a disaster quite like the one I've imagined. Now having said that, I'm sure there will be five more submissions exactly like mine. Anyway, that's the latest.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The final episode, and choices

First of all, the final episode of the Dark InSpectre is now revised, approved by my editor, and locked. It's ready to go a week from Monday, and it'll kick your ass.

In other news, after 3 months, I got one of my stories rejected. It's a hard sci-fi piece, and it's very early in the submission process. I've submitted only to a few top of the heap places, so the rejection is not unexpected, and normally I would just submit again to the next market on the list.

However, there happens to be a themed anthology that my story would seem very well suited for. So I am faced with a choice. Do I just keep submitting as I normally would? Or do I fix up my story and ship it off to the anthology? I have absolutely no guarantee of it getting accepted to the anthology. But I think it will. And my fear is that it would get accepted, thereby preventing it from getting in a pro or semi-pro market.

This may seem crazy and incredibly conceited, but I believe in the piece and it's the way I think. If I didn't think this way, I wouldn't have the nerve to send any of my stories out at all. So there you have it. What to do, what to do...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The End is Near

When I put the next to last episode of the current arc of the Dark InSpectre up, I sent the very last episode to my editor for review. I was psyched, thought I had a kick-ass ending. Then I got it back, total revision necessary. I was bummed, but you know what? She's right on. I'm about two-thirds done with the revision, and it's way better so far.

So I'm feelin better about things. Funny how that works.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Penultimate Episode of The Dark Inspectre

Episode 16 of my paranormal crime series, The Dark InSpectre, is now online. It's the next to last one in the current story arc.

Here's an excerpt:

A quick tilt sent the liquid sliding down Dee’s throat before she could even think about it. Unprepared, she coughed and sputtered for a second. I relived the dream, every moment. I wanted to cry out, say something. My pulse hammered in my head. Dee gave herself a little shake, made a sound of protest and tried to turn back up the steps.

My god, fight it, Dee.

Don't miss the exciting end!: