Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I received my 16th acceptance of the year today, this time for a Take Your Dogs to Work-themed confession I submitted on the 22nd.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Published 3x

My confessions "Memorial Day Madness" and "A Daughter's Homecoming" appear in the May True Confessions, and my hardboiled crime story "Meat and Potatoes" about a con man/killer appears in the just released anthology Biker Boys.

Monday, March 29, 2010


In a review of Best Gay Romance 2010, Eric Page writes:

"These stories explore the idea that one night, one week or one summer can be as romantic as a life spent together. From the sweet, everyday and unexpected discovery of love on your own doorstep in ‘Total Package’ by Michael Bracken, to the more sophisticated wisdom and suggestiveness of ‘The Falls’ by Natty Soltesez this paperback collection of (sometimes very) short stories is a good read, leaves you feeling warm, covers all the kind of love from first to make-up and even, in this most cynical and bitter of reviewers hearts, lit a candle of hope that we might all get a chance at the ‘happy ever afters.’"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Story twelve

I completed and submitted my 12th short story of the year this morning, a 5,100-word confession that takes place at a family reunion. I started work in this story on March 23, finished the bulk of the writing on the 25th, and proofread/edited the final draft yesterday.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Sherlock Holmes pastiche I'll never write

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are engaged to locate a pedophile that's been terrorizing London. Holmes, using his superior deductive reasoning, determines that the pedophile is at one of the city's schools and goes undercover to roust him out.

After the pedophile is arrested, Dr. Watson asks Holmes, "And at which school did you discover this cretin?"

"Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary."

Research tip

Those of you who like to tie your stories to holidays and other annual events might be interested in checking out this page from the U.S. Census Bureau:

It contains lots of good information about significant annual events. (For example, did y'all know that May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month AND Older Americans Month? I didn't. I just knew Mother's Day was in May.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Story eleven

I finished and submitted my 11th story of the year this evening, a 2,900-word confession centered around Take Your Dog to Work Day. I started writing this story on February 2, but wrote most of it last week and this afternoon.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I received my 15th acceptance this morning, this time for a deal-with-the-devil story with a twist: the deal is actually with one of the devil's less-experienced minions.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

14, again

Because a story accepted for an anthology at the beginning of the year was unaccepted by the publisher when the editor turned in an anthology that was too long, my tally of acceptances dropped by one. So, today's acceptance of a confession submitted February 13, becomes my 14th acceptance of the year.

What's that smell?

"The most important thing, especially on a first draft is to remember that it is a FIRST DRAFT. It is supposed to be crap. Give yourself permission to write crap and you’ll be amazed by what happens."--Candace Havens, Genreality

You shouldn't be. If you give yourself permission to write crap, you'll write crap.

I've quoted Ms. Havens out of context--this was part of a much longer post about overcoming writer's block--but I've seen this advice presented many times by many writers, and I find it repulsive.

While a first draft may be imperfect, one should never settle for producing crap. The more loathesome your first draft, the more work you'll have to do to your manuscript to create a publishable draft.

Why create unnecessary work for yourself? Why not produce clean drafts at each stage of the process? Do your best with each draft and you'll find yourself producing fewer drafts. You may even reach a point where your first draft is your final draft.

(And these days, with word processing software and personal computers giving us the ability to revise on the fly, who's to say what constitutes an actual draft?)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Literary mash-ups

Literary mash-ups are all the rage these days. The one I'd like to write, but probably won't, is the story of the horror writing bear who lives in the 100 Acre Woods with his friends Piglet and the Raven: Edgar Allan Pooh.


I'm down one acceptance this year.

I woke this morning to find an email from an anthology editor. The complete manuscript was too long and the publisher suggested cutting three stories. One of them was mine.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Story Ten

I finished my 10th story of the year a few minutes ago, a 680-word mystery that'll be headed off to Woman's World in the morning.

Friday, March 05, 2010


My 14th acceptance of the year came with no effort on my part. Out of the Gutter is producing a "Best of" anthology and asked to include my story "Professionals," from issue 2, in the anthology.

Of course, I said they could.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

12, 13

I received my 12th and 13th acceptances today, for a Mother's Day-themed confession and a Memorial Day-themed confession.

Monday, March 01, 2010


My story "One-Night Stan" appears in the April True Confessions.


I received my 11th acceptance of the year this morning, this time for a short essay I wrote about working in my grandmother's corset shop when I was a teenager. My grandmother's shop specialized in serving the needs of mastectomy patients and the "tasteful" anthology is "celebrating the most female of body parts, the breasts."