Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Back in the saddle?

Although I didn't stop writing, my writing recently had been more personal and less commercial. The past week, though, I've been hard at it again writing fiction intended for publication. While I haven't finished any stories recently, I've made good progress on at least half a dozen of them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Published, again

I had another short story published, this one written under one of my pseudonyms.

I appear in the strangest places

In her March 4 column in Parade (, Marilyn vos Savant was asked: "If a farmer has a total of 30 cows and chickens, and the animals have 74 legs in all, how many chickens are in the coop?"

She gave a complicated mathematical answer. I sent her a much simpler answer to the question and it's now posted at

I don't know if my response actually appeared in Parade, but if it did, it would have been in the April 15 edition. Parade is distributed with the Sunday paper and April 15 is the one time I didn't buy a Sunday paper!

Did anybody see it?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Today I received a contract for an essay, my 17th acceptance of the year. My acceptance rate has dropped to one acceptance every 6.5 days, which puts me right in line with my annual goal--one acceptance per week--but below the blistering pace with which I started 2007.

An interesting/ironic twist to this sale: I was enrolled in an argumentative essay writing course a few years ago and I wrote the essay to complete a homework assignment (note to new blog readers: I was 48 when I graduated in 2005). The assignment was to write a letter to convince someone to do something they probably wouldn't want to do. I wrote a letter to my second wife (she had died from cancer less than two years after we married) about my third wife.

So, my college homework continues to generate income (this is not the first piece of homework I've sold), and my personal life has changed so much since I wrote the essay that I had a really weird feeling when I reread it a few minutes ago.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mail / Bills

Today's mail brought payment for a short story and a check from an editing client. I promptly paid bills. For the first time in a few months, I still had a modest balance after all the bills were paid.

Of course, my luck being what it is lately, I also learned of another bill about to drop in my lap. Sigh.

Just another incentive to get productive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Today I received author copies of an anthology containing one of my short stories.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dying to Meet You

Last Thursday evening I participating in "Dying to Meet You" at the Texas Library Association's annual conference in San Antonio. Sixteen mystery authors participated in the event, which was based on the speed-dating concept. Nine (there may have been more, I never actually counted) librarians sat at each table eating while the authors visited with them. Approximately every fifteen minutes, the authors would change tables and talk with a new group of librarians.

I spent one to two minutes introducing myself, talking about three of my books (the most recent, the best-reviewed, and one--not a mystery--that was suitable for young readers). Then the librarians peppered me with questions--from the common ("Where do you get your ideas?") to the personal ("How many times have you been married?") to the off-the-wall.

There was time to visit with five or six tables (it's all a blur, now) and I had a rip-roaring good time!

Before the event, the authors had the opportunity to eat dinner together and I had the chance to talk with a number of writers I knew from previous events we'd attended together--Lillian Stewart Carl, Cindy Daniel, Julie Wray Herman, Susan McBride, and Chris Rogers--met John Foxjohn, who I'd only crossed paths with on-line, and nodded at a few other authors that I didn't have a chance to talk to.

I also met James Reasoner when we both arrived about half an hour early. We sat in the hallway of the Menger and had a great conversation about writing. I tried to get him to tell me the secret of being a prolific novelist, but he never did show me the secret handshake. Maybe next time.


From Murdaland. I think I'm zero for three with them. Sigh.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Another Award

Earlier this year I mentioned receiving ADDY awards for a series of ads I created for the Symphony. Those were local awards. The winners are sent to District. I learned today that my ads won a Silver ADDY Award at the district level.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Twisted Intent

I've been doing quite a bit of writing lately, some of it quite good, but none of it intended for pay or for publication. While the writing I'm doing benefits me in a non-financial way, it is a bit frustrating to realize that it's taking time away from my for-pay production.

Or is it? Would I really be working on for-pay/for-publication work if I stopped the other writing I'm doing? Or might I just be staring at the wall or the television screen?

One of the odd things about writing--especially difficult for the non-writers around us to understand--is that it is difficult to know when we're working and when we aren't. Either way, we may be sitting in front of a keyboard, or staring blankly into space, or on a long walk around the neighborhood as we think.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

16 and publication

I received a contract today for what is my 16th acceptance of the year, a humorous short story accepted by a men's magazine.

I also received the May issue of True Romance, which contains my story "Hot Mom."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Acceptance, publication, and payment

My humorous essay "Dandelion Whine" was accepted and appears in today's Seeds.

The mail brought payment for two short stories.

And one of my regular clients dropped two assignments in my lap today.

All-in-all, a good day.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Today's mail brought a rejection. I've already targeted another publication and have the story ready to go out in the mail tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Freelancing, family, and failure

As I sat at my desk a few minutes ago writing a check to the U.S. Treasury for my first quarter estimated taxes--which put a healthy dent in my bank balance despite my increasing ability to plan ahead--I realized this is a significant day. Four years ago, on April Fool's Day, I became a full-time freelancer.

It's been a wild ride.

While I don't normally share personal information as my intent is to track the ups and downs of the "professional" side of freelancing, freelancing does impact my personal life. And not always in a good way.

My ten-year marriage ended a few days ago and my career choice was one of the reasons. I'm certain there's a lesson to be learned here. If nothing else, it's that I should have devoted as much energy to my key relationship as I devoted to my career.

Because now all I have is the career.