Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I made it, with almost 26 hours to spare. My 52nd acceptance of the year. That's an average of one a week (one-a-week was my goal this year as it has been for several years).

Alas, it's a short article about writing requested and accepted by a non-paying market.

Maybe tomorrow's mail will bring that year-ending 53rd sale that'll knock me out of my socks.

51 and published 2x

I received my 51st acceptance of the year today. Sort of.

I picked up a copy of the February True Story because it contains my story "Valentine's Surprise" and was surprised when I discovered that it also contains my story "Forgiving My Father."

Why was I surprised? Because I never received a contract for the story and did not know it had been accepted.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random thought

If a Swiss cheese were to die, would it come back as a holy ghost?

In the beginning

Yesterday, James Reasoner noted in a blog post (http://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com/2008/12/32-and-counting.html) that he was celebrating the 32nd anniversary of his first sale, and it reminded me how long I've been doing this.

I've been writing since the 8th grade and seeing my work in print in various amateur publications (junior high and high school literary magazines, high school newspaper, science fiction fanzines, etc.) and semi-prozines (publications that paid a fraction of a cent per word) beginning in the 9th grade.

I made my first professional sale in September, 1977. The acceptance letter is dated September 2 and I received it on September 8. The story--a young adult fantasy titled "The Magic Stone"--wasn't published until November, 1978, when it appeared in Young World.

So 2008 marks the 31st anniversary of my first professional sale and the 30th anniversary of my first professional publication.

Not bad for a kid who just wanted to tell stories.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Crime for Christmas

Crime fiction has dominated my limited productivity this week. Last Sunday I finished revising a private eye story that had been sitting in my files ever since the anthology that originally accepted it became a dead project. Today I finished writing a new hardboiled crime story that I had started several years ago.

The private eye story went to a publication that recently purchased its first story from me and the hardboiled crime story is off to a magazine I've been selling to since the mid-90s.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It may be too early to know for certain whether or not I've received my Christmas present from Santa, but I awoke more clear-headed than I've been in quite some time.

Tuesday I met with my cardiologist as a follow-up to my emergency room visit on the 10th. I took advantage of the opportunity to discuss my creative drought since the surgery, and my cardiologist, who had reduced my metoprolol dose from 50mg/day to 25mg/day on the 10th, eliminated it from my drug regimen. (Metoprolol is a beta-blocker prescribed to combat high blood pressure, among other things, and, according to drugs. com, "can cause side effects that may impair [...] thinking or reactions.")

I've been too busy with the holidays to attempt much writing, but I suspect a clear mind is a step toward a creative mind.

I have hopes.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another new story...and a rejection

Writing since the quadruple bypass has been problematic, but yesterday I finally finished and submitted another new short story. Unfortunately, it's already been rejected because it was too similar to something the editor had already purchased. Because the story is tied to a particular holiday, the manuscript will have to sit in my files for six to nine months before it can go out again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A day spent in the emergency room

Three months ago today I had a quadruple bypass. I spent today in the emergency room.

I'd been feeling a little out of sorts since the weekend, but last evening I felt particularly tired. I fell asleep while watching TV after dinner, woke up about two hours later, checked my e-mail, and then returned to the living room and lay down on the couch. I fell asleep around 7:15 and, except few a few restroom trips, slept until 7 this morning.

When I arrived at cardiac rehab this morning at 8:15, one of the nurses (or are they physical therapists?) said I looked like I didn't feel well. I walked on the treadmill--at a much slower pace than usual--and then sat on a chair to rest.

The next thing I knew I was flat on my back on the floor, with a dozen people hovering around me, checking my blood pressure, putting cold rags on my forehead, raising my legs, and doing a variety of other things to ensure my health and safety. As soon as they felt I could safety sit in a wheelchair, they wheeled me across the hospital to the emergency room, where I was subjected to a variety of tests and wasn't released until around 6.

The upshot? My blood pressure medication is being reduced by half and I'm to follow-up with my cardiologist within a week.

It was not a fun way to spend my three-month anniversary.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Published, again

My story "Confessions of a Fatherless Daughter" appears in the January True Confessions.