War Journal 75: The Shift in Gears, The Seriously Funny

It was a good while back, around the time I started this blog, that I decided it made better sense to build a name in this industry writing short stories before I started writing books.  That way I could hit the publishers and be like “Hey, James Beamon here… you know me, the guy with the fan base a legion strong… the dude who hasn’t quit because the world’s decried he’s too legit.  Attached is my debut novel.  Since your submission guidelines said nothing about simultaneous subs, I’ve also sent it to three other fairly large publishing houses.  I look forward to hearing back from you.  Sincerely Yours (for a price), James”

I mean, it makes sense right?  The thing is writers don’t actually listen to business sense so much as the story that’s beating in their writerly hearts.  And so while I was working to get into the biz one short at a time, the big story… the novel story that’s currently spanning trilogy lengths was beating in the heart.  So I’d take time out of the story game to write the novel, going back and forth and back again.  I finished the first novel without making too much of a splash in short stories.  Same went for the second novel.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve acquired a healthy number of people who dig what I write along the way, love you folks and your awesome sense of taste and style.  I’ve gotten to SFWA recognized pro status, a mountain of an endeavor, at least I think so.  But the novel writing was definitely messing with the volume of stories and hence my takeover of the game via shorts.

Flashback to August of 2015.  I had gotten zero short story sales for the year, I mean zero with the hollow circle, one less than the loneliest number.  We were getting into the “-ember” part of the year, you know, the ass end.  And the last sale I had was back in August of 2014.  So the business sense kicked in, along with a healthy dose of fear that this would be the year of the goose egg.  I basically mothballed third novel and got a LOT more shorts written out.  And many of them sold, Daily Science Fiction, F&SF, Apex, Sci Phi Journal, and more.  At the end of 2015 and going into 2016 I got 11 short stories accepted, published or both depending on the speed of the venue.  I made the Nebula Awards Recommended Reading List… twice.

It’s April 2017 and the smoke’s cleared after my writing/submitting blitz on the marketplace.  More to the point, I feel really good about where my stories landed, the viewership I attracted, and my visibility.  And while I don’t think I’m in any position to send that ultra-brazen letter to the publishers I posted above, I do think that I couldn’t ask for a better year in terms of how I hustled.

Since I’m not about going through 2017 with more of the same, I figured it was time to do the full switch of gears.  It’s novel finishing time.  I still have some stories out there, waging war with the world’s slushpiles, but I’m not looking to write write write more stories this year.  I plan to finish the third novel, put some honey glaze on the whole trilogy, and send it out to you guys for your consumption.  Granted, I may pen one short or two if the distracting pull is strong enough, but I’m fairly focused, like a laser pointer with only one bad battery.

The last part of this post involves my serious pursuit of the nonserious.  April is Unidentified Funny Objects month.  This year we’re on the sixth volume and I’ve been an Associate Editor ever since the first one.  If you’re a writer then we need your funny.  I’d love to read what you’ve done… as long as it’s funny.  So if you wrote something that makes you laugh and/or makes others laugh and everyone laughing is laughing for the right reasons, send it to us.  Guidelines are here.

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Intelligence Report: Becoming Hero

How would you fine folks out there like a story where a comic book hero, whose life is constantly besieged with enemies, lost loves, and insurmountable odds on a near-weekly basis, finally gets tired of it and decides to kill the person who’s always stacking the deck against him, namely his writer?  If you raised an eyebrow or leaned a little closer, welcome to Jen Finelli’s Becoming Hero.

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If there’s any one I can call my protégé in this business, it’s Jen.  She’s been listening to my good but weird (or is it weird but good?) writerly advice for a few years now, soaking in the big points and tailoring the finer points to match her own witty and irreverent voice.  You can see a great example of that in Brain Worms and White Whales, which is free to listen to and read over at Escape Pod.

Jen wants to bring to life this very meta story of a comic book hero getting revenge for all the torturous machinations we writers cook up, and when I say to life I mean full on color life.  She wants to hire graphic artists and a voice actor to provide some high quality audio and kickass visual aesthetics on the ebooks, audiobooks and physical print copies.  That costs a bit of coin and there’s a reason why the words “starving” and “artist” go together like chocolate and peanut butter.  That’s where you guys come in.

I invite you to go over to Jen’s Indiegogo page for Becoming Hero.  It’s very hard to not get excited by the premise and all the cool rewards she’s got in store for backers.  Plus there are contests and games, no matter your backing pledge amount, coupled with a real and altruistic sense of community and plain giving back.  At the time of this post, she’s about $1200 short of reaching that dream goal of fully funded.  So head on over there and check out the project!

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War Journal 74: Two to View

I meant to do this last week, but life got in the way… this time in the form of my nephew who came to visit.  He’s 18 now, and because of my former life as a military servicemember and deployed defense contractor, I hadn’t seen him in years.  So I spent a while talking to him about the Air Force (which he plans to join!), investing and life in general.  Also, I spent a good minute aggressively trying to not get my ass whipped on my own PlayStation games.  It was brutal, y’all.  Meanwhile this is the stuff that happened in publishing last week.

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Counting back from the most recent first, my story Yours in Heaven debuted in Sci Phi Journal.  It’s the story of a sociopathic arms dealer who goes from being a captive in an interstellar zoo to Commander-in-Chief of an alien army.  I wrote this awhile back and I’ve always loved it because of the voice and style.  Unlike a good many of my stories, I think Yours in Heaven is uniquely appropriate for Sci Phi Journal, as they include the philosophical talking points which gives the reader much more to consider beyond what’s just going on at the surface.

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Then earlier in the week, along my road to (hopefully!) J.K. Rowling fortune and glory, I accomplished one of my writing career side quests.  My story Soliloquy in a Cheap Diner Off Route 66 debuted in Apex Magazine.  These guys have, bar none, the BEST submission guidelines in the business.  My story is about Lolonyo, a man with strange and awesome abilities, who is trying to brute force his will over the seemingly immutable laws of the universe.  Not only was my story published, but Andrea Johnson over at Apex interviewed me, and it was a really awesome interview.  Granted, I’ve only done a handful of interviews in my career as a writer, but Andrea had some really dope questions.  Read the story, which is free on site, and then check out the interview.

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War Journal 73: A Very Beamon Christmas

‘Tis the season to use the word ’tis!  Plus friends and fam come around or toss you invites for you to come around.  I don’t know what it’s been about this year, but it’s been a woodwork type of season that everyone’s coming out of.  I’m seeing family I haven’t seen in years and friends I’ve seen seldom enough to wonder if we’re still friends.  Hell, one friend I met in person for the first time ever.

This is all to say I’ve been a bit busy.  And having a great time, too.

I’m about to go back to that!  Offline stuff.  Seasonal stuff.  ‘Tis stuff!  But first, I wanted to give all you guys who check for me a little early present.  I’m giving away my novelette, Dialogues with Talking Heads, for free temporarily.  Not only that, it’s coming bundled with 4 other works from that are also being given away for free for a limited time.  It’s a great way to get something I’d normally charge for while getting the opportunity to discover someone new… always great to do that without paying or just having a chinchy bit of “Look Inside” at the first 3 pages over at Amazon.  Christmas means more than 3 pages, Amazon!

Go here and grab some free reads!

FREE I tell ya!

FREE I tell ya!

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