Category Archives: Featured

Writers of the Future: Oops, I did it again!

If you know me from any of my online hangouts, what I’m about to tell you is old news. I’m a Writers of the Future finalist for the second quarter (Q2) of Volume 31. Yayyy, me!


I’m excited, but it’s my third time riding this bus, so I’m well aware that it usually lets me off at right back at the same stop where I got on.  Something is different this time, though. As the news started to trickle out, I realized I wasn’t alone. My friend and editor Josh Essoe also got a finalist nod, so then there were two of us.

Party of two? No way!  My friend and fellow former finalist Holly Heisey also got a call. So did forum friend and fellow Codexian Samantha Murray, and my friend and workshop buddy Scott Parkin, who shared the finalist hot seat with me in Q4 of Volume 29.  Yeah, out of eight possible spots, five us know each other. Now that’s a party!


To be fair, there are three more finalists who I’ve yet to meet. Only three of us can win, but with so many friends on the list, I’ll be delighted no matter what happens.

On the writerly glory of Mondays

I’m a fan of Mondays. I know it sounds odd, but for me and my writing, Monday is the most important day of the week.

Monday has never been about racking up serious word count, or even about diving into monster revisions. Instead, Monday is about prevention. In particular, Monday is about preventing those work-stopping moments that happen all too frequently in a writer’s life. What do I mean by that?

“Rats! We’re out of milk.”

Or cat food. Or toilet paper, or any one of a list of things that means I have to stop everything, get in the car and remedy the situation right then and there. Ditto for things like “Mom, I’m out of socks.” Or gym clothes. Or “I need 35 cupcakes and sunscreen for school today and I forgot to tell you.” Doctors’ appointments. Due dates for bills. All of that administrivia of day to day life that tends to throw a wrench in your writing plans if you don’t stay on top of it.

So Monday is about staying on top of it. It’s about clearing the deck so I can spend the rest of the week focusing on my work with a minimum of disruption. It’s also about scheduling my writing during the family’s work and school hours so we can be a family on evenings and weekends.

Here’s what Mondays look like for me:

  • I go over the family schedule for details about work meetings, Scout meetings, play practice, permission slips, school minimum days., etc. If anything deviates from the norm, I try to find out on Monday so I can plan my work for the rest of the week.
  • I make a to-do list for the week. (Yes, some of you who know me are shocked by this, I know.) The list covers everything from writing deadlines to bills to doctor appointments.
  • I do about four loads of laundry, fold it and put it away.
  • I inventory the grocery situation, check the ads and pick up anything we’re low on.
  • While I’m out, I fill the gas tank, do any banking and pick up prescriptions, dry cleaning, cat food, etc.
  • I plan dinner for the rest of the week.

Most of the time, I’m done and home between 10 and 11 am, and I can spend the rest of the day writing. A well-executed Monday keeps my stress level low and my productivity high by making the week run smoothly.  The stress level part of it is important for me because I write my best when I’m relaxed and calm. I hate the weeks where I tell myself that I’ll finish something “next week” only to find that next week has a four hour client meeting, two doctor’s appointments, an after school event and an early dismissal day, a vet visit and a spouse who needs a ride to the airport.

My high wordcount days? They’re usually later in the week, made possible by the writerly glory of Mondays.

What a difference a year makes

It’s been quite the year. Since my last post about writing, I have:

  • been a finalist twice in Writers of the Future
  • made my first SFWA-qualifying sale
  • signed a multi-volume novel contract
  • completed the first book in the above
  • become a full-time writer who makes a living writing

It’s all been such a whirlwind that I’ve let my blogging slip. Here’s to more regular posts in the immediate future.

And speaking of Writers of the Future, my WOTF bestie Tina Gower won first place in her quarter, followed by the prestigious and envy-inducing Gold Award. Check out her story “Twelve Seconds” in Volume 29.



Ben’s Recovery Fund

Dear Internet,

You might have noticed that I don’t ask for much. I’ve never held a Kickstarter, if I’ve asked you to buy a book it’s usually free, etc.

I’m asking now.

My friend and writing mentor, David Farland (aka Dave Wolverton), needs help. His son Ben suffered a long boarding accident last week, and the list of injuries is horrific. Bruised lungs. Broken pelvis. Fractured skull. Traumatic brain injury.

The expenses are astronomical (think millions), and Dave, like many writers, is uninsured thanks to a pre-existing medical condition.

If you can spare anything, even if it’s just a few dollars, please help.

Ben Wolverton

Ben Wolverton

FIRST CALL is live!

The first Farthane story went live today. It’s one part ancient cataclysm, one part mystical order and one part little girl with kitten. For my friends at Writers of the Future, this was my Q1 entry.

First Call: A Farthane Story

“When the Call comes, it must be obeyed.”

Since the time of shadow and ash, the citizens of Eriyu have been guided by the Judicars, a mystical order devoted to Truth. Jerra, a young initiate, is ready to face the final trial that will allow her to become a full-fledged Judicar. But Truth isn’t easy to see, especially when her own mentor turns against her.

Length: approx. 6,200 words, including a short novel excerpt
Genre: fantasy, action & adventure, strong female characters
Market: written for adults but YA-friendly (no swearing, no sex)

P.S. If you’re looking for the Farthane website, it will be live soon. For now, feel free to hang out here.   🙂

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WOTF Results and Five Bargain Brain Books

Quickie post!

1) All Q1 finalists for the Writers of the Future contest have been called, and I am not one of them. I’m super-excited for them, and not at all disappointed that I didn’t make the list. Next time! I’m hoping for the press release / blog post that lists all of the awards from Honorable Mention on up sometime this week. Maybe even today!

2) For those of you with a Kindle app and an interest in brain stuff, today’s Kindle Daily Deal is a good one. Five brain books for $1.99 each.  The link was a monster, so I’ve shortened it:

Happy writing!

Hostile Edits – One More Reason to Love Self-Publishing

Some things make you shake your head in disbelief while privately vowing never to work with the outfit in question. Or more accurately, some things are icing on the nailhead trim decorating the coffin of traditional publishing. Granted, this story involves a small press, not one of the big New York publishers, but it’s still a lesson in why self-publishing is rolling along like a boulder after Indiana Jones.

First, there are the cack-handed copy edits that insert grammar and spelling errors into text that was correct when submitted. Case in point: someone added an apostrophe to the verb in the title of Mandy DeGeit’s story in an Undead Press anthology. “She Make’s Me Smile.” Ouch.

Then there are the content revisions that include changing the gender of a character, giving him animal abuse memories the author’s never heard of and adding the suggestion of rape near the end of the story.  But that’s not the kicker as far as I’m concerned.

The kicker is the petulant, legally threatening, unmitigated snarkfest of a response Mandy received when she wrote to the publisher in question. The publisher’s response started out like this (below, and multiply-sic-worthy) and got worse:

“lets see.
on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right here”



Kind of reminds you of a similar snarkfest from that editor who told Monica Gaudino that the web was public domain and she should be happy they’d stolen her work and not given her credit, doesn’t it?

And for this we writers get paid what, maybe $.05 a word if we’re lucky (and nothing at all if we’re not)? Not me, thanks. I’ll write my stories in my own blood on the sidewalk outside my house before I put up with that nonsense.

Here’s the original post on Mandy’s blog, the resulting entry on Writer Beware, and the post from Passive Guy that alerted me to the whole thing. And just for good measure, here’s the venerable Mr. Konrath on the exploitation of writers.


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Free Today: The Golden Queen and “For Tomorrow We Diet”

David Farland and I are offering wholesale nfl jerseys freebies today. Click the cheap mlb jerseys covers to get his novel, The Gala Golden Queen, and my short story, “For Tomorrow We Diet,” today only.

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When Gallen O’Day is hired GX to as a bodyguard to escort a young woman aanvragen through the woods to the forbidden ruins at Geata Na Chruinn, it seems like an ordinary job—but all too soon, he finds himself fleeing for his wholesale nba jerseys life from creatures that seem like escapees from a nightmare—the alien dronon, led by their golden queen. of With his best friend, a genetically engineered talking bear named Orick, wholesale mlb jerseys and his girlfriend Maggie, Gallen soon RBC finds himself tangled in an 2 interstellar war that he never knew existed, racing across a host of worlds, confronted by a future unlike any that he had ever imagined.

“I don’t read much horror, but this evil little example Judges: was very entertaining.”
–Steven Mitchell
Product Description
Merry couldn’t believe her luck when she for discovered a magic tea that would grant her deepest desire. In fact, the only problem she could think of was figuring out how quickly wholesale mlb jerseys to drink it. Could a perfect life be just a few sips away?

Length: 2,000 words (short story)
Genre: light horror, dark humor, satire included

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A Tale of Two Ebooks

Ok, maybe three, but who’s counting?

Last night, I found myself at loose ends and wanting a new book to WOTF read. I cheap nfl jerseys was willing Dear to spend up Ulangan to $10, maybe a bit more.

The first book I considered was Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed. It’s gotten good reviews, and Arab worlds are one of my favorite alternate-history settings. CAPER Ahmed’s book is new, still in hardcover, and the $11.99 Kindle price is more than I wanted to pay. Gritting my teeth in frustration, I decided to see if other books I’d been watching might be cheaper.

Melanie Rawn is another favorite of mine, and I heard she had a new book out. Even better, the book is set in alternate-England and deals with a theatrical troupe. Score! Alas, no, Touchstone (The Glass Thorns) was a dollar more than Ahmed’s book at $12.99. Thank you, next?

Then I remembered Robin Hobb. I’d been waiting well over a year for a Refer new dragon book, so maybe hers was out in paperback and the ebook might be cheaper? No such luck. City of Dragons: Volume Three of the Rain Wilds Chronicles was released in February, and the Kindle version is a scream-inducing $14.99.

Here’s the thing. I like hardcovers, and I’ll happily pay hardcover prices for a book I really cheap mlb jerseys want. In ar fact, I’ll even buy two formats, hard and e-, if it’s something I like to have with me while traveling. But therein lies the rub. I’m traveling at the moment and specifically needed an ebook.

When one knows, as I wholesale nfl jerseys do, that the publisher gave up higher royalties for the ‘privilege’ of sticking me with a $15 price tag, the buying experience leaves one feeling a bit raw. In fact, it drives one to quips about sodomy, buggery and being bent over a fence rail without benefit of lube.

Even more ludicrous is knowing that insane price points on ebooks are throwing double or triple money at Amazon compared to what Amazon would get if the books were priced more reasonably. Using round numbers, Amazon gets nearly $10 out of a $15 sale wholesale mlb jerseys but only $3.50 out of $9.99.

So, yeah. Way to go Big 6. Pouring buckets of money into your competitor’s coffers looks like an *awesome* business strategy. Bet it took lots of MBAs to come up with that one.

If any one of the books above had been priced at $9.99, I’d have bought it. And I did buy an ebook last night, just not one of those three. I’ll wait for paper, get them used or wait for the ebook price to fall.

The Alchemist Of Souls, by Anne LyleInstead, I checked out this book, by Anne Lyle:  The Alchemist of Souls: Night's Masque, Volume 1.  Great cover, 4.5 stars, alternate Elizabethan England with a troupe of actors, editorial reviews by Publishers Weekly and Aliette de Bodard. Sold!

And of assuming this is a trilogy, I can buy all three books for the price of the least expensive New York offering above. At first I thought this was an indie book, and for fairly transparent reasons, I’m indie friendly. Instead, this looks like a small press book, and more power to ’em for offering the courtship equivalent of wine, dinner and roses instead of the back-alley manhandling I’ve come to expect out of New York.

Final note: I still want the books by Ahmed, Rawn and Hobb – just not at those prices. My ire lies with the publishers, not the authors.

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Dear WOTF Judges: Please Secure Your Socks

Even if I’m never WOTF there as a winner, attending the Writers of the Future awards ceremony will be one of the high Wholesale Miami Dolphins Jerseys points of my life. I could tell you to about the high production values, the evocative and gasp-worthy dances, the inspiring speeches and the kiss, kiss, bling, bling of the Hollywood red carpet atmosphere, but in truth, those are secondary to the event’s effect on me as a writer.  This event lit a fire in my belly the likes of which I cannot believe.

I’ve been writing full-time for awhile now, mostly private client, non-fiction stuff. But my goal has been to transition to fiction, and like the good Bromo Jane Austen, to earn my zich living from my pen. When non-fiction pays the bills, it’s easy to let fiction slide, to sigh and plod through another assignment while fiction sits lonely in my head. Well, no more.

I’ve never been competitive in the sense of wanting to vanquish others for the sake of a prize. Doing my personal best has always been good enough for me.  Now, however, I am consumed with ambition for WOTF.

Competition? Not so much.

Ambition? Hell, yeah!

I don’t just want to write a good story and hope it places. I cheap nfl jerseys want to blow the Getriebe? thing out of the water and knock the judges’ socks into high orbit. From here on out, I am gunning for Gold.

So, my dear judges, you have been warned. wholesale jerseys Please secure your socks.


P.S. What’s that? You’re only here for the sock garters?  Here Dango they are: SWANclothing Widgets

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