Saturday, September 30, 2006


Today's mail brought my 59th acceptance of the year, this time for an essay.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Today's mail brought a contract for a story story. This is my 58th acceptance this year, one more than all of last year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Published Again

My humorous gardening essay "Why My Face Is Red But My Tomatoes Aren't" was published in today's edition of Seeds. The current issue is archived at:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Charles L. Grant

Charles L. Grant--Charlie--died shortly after 10:00 p.m. Friday evening. While my recent contact with Charlie had been sporadic at best--mostly messages sent back and forth via his wife, Kathy Ptacek--Charlie was instrumental in the early part of my writing career. A young author with a handful of short stories to his credit when I "met" him, he ultimately published a bazillion novels in a variety of genres under numerous pseudonyms. He was probably best known for the quiet horror he published under his own name.

When we "met," I was a teenaged science fiction fan publishing a fanzine. We "met" after I sent Charlie a copy of my fanzine containing an article someone else had written about him. We began corresponding the old-fashioned way, sending typewritten letters via the postal service. Charlie wrote a column for my fanzine, and he once interviewed one of his pseudonyms as an inside joke.

In addition to writing, Charlie also edited many horror anthologies, and he published one of my first short stories in 1985. ("Of Memories Dying" was my 15th published short story, my first to appear in an anthology.)

More importantly, though, Charlie was one of the people who taught me how to be a writer. He treated me with professionalism and respect, he treated my fanzine as if it were a professional magazine, and he lived the life that I wanted to live.

Writers often talk about the idea of "paying forward," of helping new writers, but Charlie actually did it. He helped me. For that I am eternally grateful.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Published, again

My essay "Is That A Book In My Pocket?' is the Manspeak column in the October True Confessions, which just hit the newsstands locally.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pay for Play

After reading yesterday's post, Steven asked, "Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to say how many of the 57 are bringing in checks? Or is it all of them?"

After a quick glance through my records, it looks like the 57 acceptances include two short stories for which I did not/will not receive pay for initial publication and two reprints (one fiction, one non-fiction) for which I did not/will not receive pay.

That means 53 of this year's acceptances have or will result in payment of some kind.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Accepted, again

I had a short story accepted earlier this afternoon, a hardboiled story featuring my reoccuring character, Waco, Texas-based P.I. Morris Ronald Boyette. It's my 57th acceptance this year, tying my total number of acceptances for all of last year.

Monday, September 11, 2006

This Morning's E-mail

This morning's e-mail brought two acceptances--an article I submitted last night and a short story I submitted in April.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Show Me The Money

The money's in non-fiction.

That's the mantra we're all forced to learn when we become freelance writers.

Alas, I've yet to prove that true.

Although I often earn more per-word for non-fiction, I don't seem to earn more per-hour. I've been writing and selling short stories for so many years that they often just roll off my fingers. Articles take more research and more drafts before I feel comfortable that I've produced a publishable manuscript.

Part of my dilemma is limited formal training in journalism. I've not mastered the art of the interview, and often find myself with far more material than I need. I've not mastered the art of organizing my material and developing a preliminary outline, so I often toss my outlines out the window once I start drafting copy. I've not mastered the hook and the nut graf, so I often struggle producing them.

My wife--a journalism professor at a major university--must think I'm a moron when I ask for her advice, which I often do when crafting articles, and she repeatedly pounds the same lessons into my head that she pounds into the heads of her entry-level journalism students.

It may be that I lack confidence or that I wear blinders when viewing my non-fiction. After all, a good part of my freelance income comes from editing other writers' non-fiction! I can see and correct the problems in their work that I can't seem to see and correct in my own.

Ah, well, maybe it's just a time and experience issue. If I had written as many articles as I've written short stories, they might just roll off my fingers the way short stories do.

And maybe someday, after I have written many more articles, someone will show me the money!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

School Daze

Homework has taken up a fair bit of my time lately--more reading than anything else--so I'm still not writing much on speculation. I have an article assigned to me last month that I hope to finish this weekened, and last night I received an essay assignment that's due on the 19th.

The window of opportunity on Christmas/holiday stories is shut now, so all the Christmas/Holiday stories I didn't finish last month will go into a virtual folder, and I'll pull them out again next summer.

Thinking of editorial calendars, what should I be working on now? Valentine's Day stories! I already have notes/roughs for six Valentine's Day stories...and almost no time to work on them. Maybe next week/weekend, after I finish the two assignments I already have in hand.