Thursday, May 31, 2007


My 24th acceptance of the year coincided with its publication. My article "Weatherization provided at no cost to low-income homeowners" appears in the June issue of Senior News.

Understanding rejection

Earlier this year I wrote a hardboiled crime story that I particularly like. It's been out to a couple of markets and the gist of the rejections is a) not enough sex and b) too much sex. So, is it a problem with the story, or have I sent it to the wrong markets?

This is the kind of dilemma writers face all the time. And, no, it's not about having too much sex or not enough sex. It's about using the editors' comments to help prevent future rejection.

I can use what I learned from these rejections to help sell future work to these markets. For one market, I may increase the sexual aspects of the next story I submit; for the other market, I'll decrease the sexual aspects.

But the editors could have pointed out anything. Perhaps one felt the characters were well drawn but the setting was skimpy. In that case I might spend more time setting the stage. Another editor might think the setting was fine but never "saw" the characters. In that case I might spend a little more time describing the characters.

At least neither editor said the story sucked. Then what would I do?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

22, 23

Two more acceptances--a bit of crime fiction accepted by a web zine and some writing tips accepted by a friend putting together a book about writing. I also received a check for a short story published back in April and a contributor's copy of a magazine containing one of my short stories.

Monday, May 28, 2007


One of my pseudonyms had a story published today. It's a "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it" story.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Busy weekend

At the request of a publisher, I put together an anthology proposal for her to look at.

I provided some writing tips and advice to a friend who's writing a book about the habits of successful writers. If he quotes me in the book, I'll get two copies.

I sent a story to a new on-line publication and I submitted a reprint to another new publication.

And I edited articles for a monthly publication.

I just about have my desk cleared of miscellaneous little projects. Maybe now I can write something...

Friday, May 25, 2007


I received a contract for a short story today, my 21st acceptance of the year.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Insurance and freelancing

Being a full-time freelancer means having expenses that the average Joe doesn't think about, or doesn't think about in the same way. Medical insurance is one of them. I had insurance through my former spouse's employer. The cost to the family was neglible and, because the premiums were deducted directly from her paycheck, not a financial issue that had my attention.

That's changed. I elected to retain insurance through COBRA and now medical/dental insurance is my single largest monthly expense other than my house payment.

I'll have to sell another short story or two every month to cover the premiums, or find some way to lower other expenses.

I will also have to revist this issue on a regular basis. I've received quotes for other, less expensive polices, but less expensive also means higher deductibles and less coverage. Plus, COBRA's only good for three years.

And two months have already passed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New series with old stars

Abe Vigoda and Erik Estrada will be revisiting the roles that made them famous in the new British police drama "Fish & Chips."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Another award

I learned today that I've won another advertising award, this time a Silver ADDY Award that will be presented next month at the AAF's national conference. The award is for a series of newspaper ads I created for the Waco Symphony. This series of ads previously received a Gold ADDY Award in local competition, a Silver ADDY Award in district competition, and now a Silver ADDY Award in national competition.

Not bloody bad for a one-person operation.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I finished writing a 7,000-word short story today. The final draft is printing now and it'll off to an editor in the morning.

This is a story I've been working on for several months, but the last half of it finally fell into place yesterday and today.

In the strangest places

Earlier today I discovered that a research paper I wrote about writer's block is listed as a source in "KIRJOITTAMISEN
PELKO," written by Kalle Lintunen and published in EKHO ( As the entire article is witten in a langauge I can't read, I have no idea what it says.

For grins, I googled other references of my article and found this: "While we’re talking about academic writing, let me share my favorite scholarly aricle on writer’s block 'Writer’s Block: A Definition by Example' by Michael Bracken." (

To read the paper I wrote, go to:

At three words, it may be the shortest research paper ever written.


One of my pseudonyms had a ghost story published today.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Productivity and Postage

I finished a new short story today, but preparing to mail it was a challenge.

A few days ago I saw the editorial calendar for a magazine I frequently contribute to. Yesterday morning I had a story idea that I thought would fit an upcoming issue. I wrote most of the opening scene and some notes for the second scene right away. Last night and today I wrote the balance of the story. After proofreading and minor edits, the final draft clocked in at 4,300 words.

As I was preparing the envelope and SASE I realized there's no way I'll get the story in today's mail and postage rates change on Monday. I haven't been to the Post Office to purchase stamps of the new denominations.

Luckily, my bucket o' stamps came to the rescue. I have a small butter tub filled with stamps of various denominations that I've collected over the years. Every time rates change I find myself with stamps that don't equate to anything useful. Today the bucket o' stamps proved useful. I was able to cobble together postage of the correct amount for both the outgoing ms. and--heaven forbid--the returning SASE.

The Value of Research

Ken Bruen and Jason Starr don't know women. Neither does their copyeditor. On page 53 of Bust they make an error on par with the old westerns where the hero fires 10 or 12 shots from his six-shooter before stopping to reload. They describe a woman's breasts as "46 triple-Ds" and then say she has a "bone-thin dancer's body."

Sorry, guys, but you blew it. A woman with a 46-inch chest does not have a "bone-thin dancer's body." Instead, she's more likely to be a small truck. I'm a 225-pound 6-footer myself, and I don't have a 46-inch chest.

So, here's my writing tip of the day for Ken and Jason and every other male writer who wants to write about women's physical attributes: Do your research. Talk to your wife/girlfriend/sister/mother and find out how bras are sized and how the size of of a woman's bra relates to the size of the woman.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Productivity, Rejection, Frustration

I completed and submitted my first short story since mid-February. That's a bloody long gap between short stories for me, but life has interferred with writing so I won't beat myself up about it.

I received a rejection today, so I promptly repackaged the story and it's off to another editor.

And, a bit of frustration: I received a healthy check for a short story in today's mail. Unfortunately, the check wasn't signed and I have to return it to the publisher.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

19, 20

One of the articles I wrote last weekend was accepted today and I also received a contract for a short story I wrote last December.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Non-fiction productivity

This has been a good weekend for writing non-fiction. I finished and submitted an article yesterday and finished and submitted another article earlier this evening. Since both articles were written on assignment, I have every reason to believe they'll be accepted.

So, back to writing fiction...

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I sort-of received my 18th acceptance of the year earlier today. I discovered a story that had been tentatively accepted is listed on a publication's Web site as scheduled for its next issue. In my eyes, that moves the story from a tentative acceptance to a full acceptance and now I can count it in my yearly total.

Look for "Professionals" in the second issue of Out of the Gutter.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Published and rejected

My short article "Organizing for Anthology Success" was published in today's Gila Queen's Guide to Markets.

On the downside, I received a rejection from a literary magazine.