Tag Archives: Blog

War Journal 68: Leapolution II

I looked this good 4 years ago... the hell have I been eating?

I looked this good 4 years ago… the hell have I been eating?

Leap Day!  Some of you, two handfuls in fact, remember the last time I posted on Leap Day.  It only comes once every four years, so that first time I wanted to catch my blog in its infancy and see how it grew the next time Leap Day rolled around.

For the many more that are new, here were the stats back then:

I was in Afghanistan.  That kinda sucked.

I had 2 out of 3 pro sales to make SFWA qualifications.  I would later learn that one of those sales didn’t count.  At the time, that sucked even worse than Afghanistan.

I had 16 subscribers.  16!

I had a fierce thirst for more.

Now, four years later, and the only thing that’s still constant is the thirst!  Current subscriber count is 169, which is awesome.  I’m SFWA recognized.  I’ve sold 12 stories at pro pay to places such as Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, AE: The Canadian SF Review (making me an international player!) and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology.  Speaking of, I also became an associate editor, directly affecting the landscape of speculative fiction comedy.  And it kinda rocks reading the work of other writers in the trenches, trying to get their funny on while battling the slush.

Who knows where we’ll be the next Leap Day.  Maybe 1699 followers and a book deal?  Your man can hope.

In the meanwhile, thanks for hanging out with a brother.  It’d be a lot lonelier in the trenches without you.


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War Journal 66: The Fallow Year

Mmm... tastes like the only thing to eat around here!

Mmm… tastes like the only thing to eat around here!

I think the revelation struck me a couple of blog posts ago, when I advertised free swag.  A fellow writer in the trenches said “Thanks… hope your writing’s going well.”  It was then I realized I haven’t had diddly published this year in terms of new stories.   The only thing I had put out to the reading public is  a need to hope I’m still writing.  Damn…

I checked my Duotrope and found an interesting pattern.

Counting back from 2011 when I got my first pro sale, I got accepted for publication 5 times that year, 4 of them at semi-pro zines.
2012 it was 8, 4 at pro sites. 2013 it was 5, all of them pro. 2014 it was 5, 4 pro 1 reprint.

Ready for this year’s stats?  In 2015 I’ve gotten 3 acceptances, all pro.  2 in September, 1 in October, none of them have appeared in print yet.

There’s a couple reasons for the low numbers.  One is the word “NO”.  My spring and summer were full of ’em… Duotrope clocked me at 59 times rejected.  Another reason is I’ve been fairly non-prolific, writing a handful of stories and wrestling with just how the final novel plays out (good news, I’ve gotten all the kinks unkinked, so expect a wrap up soon).  I think all of this translated into the blog.  It transformed along with my numbers, changing from a place where I kept sane in Iraq/Afghanistan to a place where I mostly posted recent publications which were coming frequently to what it is now, a quiet place with updates few and far between.  The “no news is no news” approach to building a fanbase, I guess.

Goes to show you just how much this blog is a living, breathing entity.  Right now it’s taking deep, labored breaths!

At first I was really bummed about the numbers accepted, the low turnout.  But I looked at the stories I’ve written, the quality of work I’ve produced this year.  One made finalist at Writers of the Future.  Another put me on a first name basis with C.C. Finlay over at F&SF.  Then there was one which earned me a personal rejection with Tor.com, who expressed a fervent (their word!) wish for me to send more.  To Boldly Go has currently earned 17 votes (almost all of them 5 star!) and made my friend and fellow writer Anatoly Belilovsky seethe with pride and good natured envy.

And a bigger revelation took place, one where I realized I’ve grown this year.  I’m not just writing the same stories.  I haven’t been content to churn out content.  I’ve been seeking new approaches to storytelling, new methodologies.  Some don’t work as well as the traditional methods, some are well received even if there may not be a place on a site’s roster.  Some are still out there at war with the slush, their success stories yet to be told.  Mostly, I’m proud of these works and happy of how I have evolved to be able to write them.

Simply put, I don’t suck as much as I used to.  I think everyone can call that a win.

So I’ve made peace with the low numbers of acceptances.  I understand it’s ok to have a fallow year, low on harvest.  Planting the same kind of seeds ruin the soil.  Some years it’s better to grow your techniques, expand the area in which you can plant.  In the long run, it’ll make for an even bigger harvest later.

Happy Thanksgiving people.


Filed under War Journals

Intelligence Report: FirstSiteGuide.com

Making sense of the whirlwind of blog topics

Making sense of the whirlwind of blog topics

Have you guys been saying good things about me, telling folks you like my blog?  Reason I ask is because I was approached by a representative from firstsiteguide.com, asking me to take a look at it and let my readers know what I think.  Well, I’ve browsed the site, looked at some of the advice, enjoyed some of the fun pictures and I’m pleased to report that it’s worth checking out if any of you are interested in blogging.

They cover the gamut of blogging, from the history, to why people do it, what kinds are out there, how to make money from blogging, you name it.  Maybe I should look at the chapter about monetizing the blog… who couldn’t go for more of that right?

If you have an inkling of a kernel of a nugget of an idea you wouldn’t mind blogging about, I definitely recommend checking them out.  When I first started fictigristle, I wanted to document this war in the trenches, the journey from selling my first story at token pay to becoming a pro to (now!) working on getting a book deal.  I remember when I thought it up I wasn’t sure of how to really start, what things to include, where to host it, etc.  Having something like that back when I posted my first blog would have helped make the war in the trenches feel less like a war.

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Blog Tour: #My Writing Process

My Writing Process is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors.  I was invited to the party by up and coming writer Eleanor Wood. Check her out at http://creativepanoply.wordpress.com/.  And check my answers out below.

What am I working on?

First and foremost, I’m writing the third book of my trilogy.  After working on the first two books for a couple of years now, it feels good to be close to finishing this story.  Beyond that, I need to write a story, my last hurrah for Writers of the Future before my next published story renders me ineligible to compete.  It’s coming to Intergalactic Medicine Show in September and once that happens, I’ll no longer be able to hide all these pro sells behind them being flash or not from an SFWA approved market.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’m a black dude, which gives me a different perspective on probably a lot of stuff.  How many black dudes you know write spec fic?  We’re like unicorns up in SFWA.  Plus I’m funny.  Sometimes the two of these come together in my work.  Funny science fiction and fantasy written from a black perspective.  That’s different right?  Although some of my best loved stories are neither funny nor written with my background in mind.

Why do I write what I do?

The way I figure it, no one else is gonna.  If it’s an idea I get really excited about, then there’s a big chance that I’ve never heard it before or seen it the way I’m envisioning it.  So if I’m seeing a story no one else has dropped and I don’t write it, how am I gonna see how it ends?  It’s all nebulous until that final period makes the story definite.

How does my writing process work?

It begins with a cup of coffee.  It ends with a story I’m happy enough to submit to markets across the world.  In between it’s really me just typing some idea that’s either touching to my soul or too dumb to leave alone.  Rhymes unintentional.  I’ll tell you I’m a pantser until the story runs too long to not have an outline.  I do not subscribe to any established method such as snowflake because I fear any formula will make my writing feel formulaic.  And the only formula I’m down for is Tang.  What is in that stuff?!


Those are my answers.  There are many like them but those ones are mine.  I encourage you to check out the answers of two of my friend and fellow spec fic writers, who’ll share their secrets with you next Monday:

Toss Alex Shvartsman a deck of Magic cards and ask “What is best in life?” and you’ll see him snatch that deck out of the air and reply “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women!” Many wars and feuds did Conan I mean Shvartsman fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… which is why he owns and operates Kings Games.
Writes? Yeah he does that too… a lot of it. He was probably the most prolific writer of 2013. He treats everything like a competition, and if getting awesome stories published was a competition, he would’ve won. His own cat hates him. He lives in Brooklyn, where he designs games and edits Unidentified Funny Objects, the premiere annual anthology of humorous SF/F. His fiction is linked at Alex Shvartsman’s Speculative Fiction


Antha Ann Adkins lives in Friendswood, Texas with her husband, two children, and an ever-growing collection of books. Her stories have been published in Perihelion SF, Interstellar Fiction, Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, and The Town Drunk. She blogs about Space & Aliens, her favorite things to write about, at acubedsf.com.

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