Tag Archives: Novel

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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War Journal 65: Return of the Light Crusader

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m some sort of perpetually running engine.  Get up in the morning and exercise, go to work and work, come home and eat dinner, do some home improvement projects on days off, rinse, repeat.  Here and there I’ll find time to squeeze out a short story and I’ve actually managed to write like four stories since I last blogged.  One got picked up by Baen for an upcoming anthology, the other three I’m peddling.  I’ve been trying to get back to finish the novel, wrap up the trilogy, you know?  It’s been a crawl and will continue to be so until I get some of my home improvement projects done.

I was starting to get tunnel vision, a very “veteran in the trenches” type feel, where you’re doing the writing almost on autopilot.  The why’s don’t matter.  The where do they go once I finish don’t matter.  Plot, character and satisfying reading experience are the only things that matter.  Will the story even sell?  You know what, doesn’t matter.

Today I opened my inbox to find someone had commented on one of my older posts, dated November 25, 2013.  The post was about my story “Light Crusader’s Dark Dessert” debuting on Intergalactic Medicine Show.  I’m going to reprint the comment here in it’s entirety and add a link to the sampler described below:

This short story was featured in the Not-A-Hugo-Sampler Sampler Issue this year, and I read through all of the short stories (minus the audio one). I thoroughly enjoyed your short story, as did my husband after I insisted he read it. I would have to say it was my favorite of the collection. The way you mixed very different genres together was masterfully done. Most attempts to do this would come off as very jarring, but you blended them together into a very cohesive story. The “Moses” analogies were hilarious, and the interlude with Terra was beautiful. Jake and Alex were both well-developed, with your supporting cast as 3D as any reader could desire. My husband especially would like to know if you’ve written anything more in this setting, or with Jake Tamerlane (is that a reference to Poe? To the Persian king?). It appears that most of your work is short fiction – I know we, at least, would be interested in purchasing any novels you were to write in this world.

I don’t get praise often, much less praise like this.  It reminded me why I’m in the trenches… why I write.  A story I wrote two years ago found its way to a reader through the sampler issue and impressed her enough to highly recommend it to someone else, who in turn also enjoyed it.  Oftentimes I forget I’m not just doing it because I like my own stories… even though I swear sometimes it feels that way.  Every now and again you guys like my stories too, and you find a way to tell me so.

Awesome.

Original artwork for Light Crusdader

Original artwork for Light Crusdader

For those of you who have yet to check out “Light Crusader’s Dark Dessert”, go to Intergalactic  Medicine Show and pick up the sampler issue.  It’s FREE!  For those of you who have read the story and wonder some of the same things these readers wonder, I actually do plan to revisit this setting and Jake Tamerlane (a reference to the Persian-Mongol conqueror).  There are so many more flavors of the Apocalypse that he’s aching to have a go at.  It’ll be a novel I’m sure.  While I can’t say for sure if it’ll be my next novel, it definitely inspires me that someone’s looking for it on the horizon.

We’ll see…

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War Journal 61: Starting the New Year

I’ve been busy folks.  After settling into my new Stateside, non-deployable job, I got to writing.  And more writing.  I finally finished my second novel.  It’s currently out there, getting a stern look from my beta readers.  While they were busy reading and giving me their impressions on it, I got back into short stories and wrote one that I hope will be a sure sell.

Speaking of sure sells, I’ve also signed up to work on the upcoming Unidentified Funny Objects 3 anthology.  I don’t know if I’ll have a story for it, but I want to kinda fierce.  Check out the cover art, y’all:

image description

Just like the first two, this thing is going to be ridiculously awesome.  Go over to the Kickstarter and preorder… your funds help drive the production of the final product, meaning more stories, more gloss, more of what you humor lovers crave.

Finally, I’ve had a recent acceptance.  Ares Magazine has accepted my story “King of the Shell Game.”  It’s a new magazine offering not only fiction but a complete board game with every issue.  Check them out here.

Oh, not finally… I’m going to the Rocket Dragons Ignite book party in Baltimore this weekend!  I’ll be helping Daily Science Fiction launch the book by reading my story “Saviors”.  If you’re in the area, come hang out with a brother.  More info on the event here.

Damn, that wasn’t finally either!  Ok, I forgot to mention my story “Light Crusader’s Dark Dessert” made Tangent’s Recommended Reading List for 2013.  This is my first time making their list, so it’s a really kickass way to bring in the new year.

All right.  That’s the haps.  Honestly.  Oh wait!  No, I’m just playing this time.  That’s really it.

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Intelligence Report: The Gilded Basilisk

basilisk

Hey gang,

I’m almost in the swing of things Stateside, and I promise I’ll tell you all about my comings and goings and happenings in a short while.  In the meantime, while you’re waiting on new content from me, I wanted to direct your attention to a book I just finished.  I present to you The Gilded Basilisk by Chet Gottfried.

It only took me a couple days to devour this book.  A high fantasy story filled with intrigue and unpredictable magic, it tells the tale of Hugin, a scheming hustler and aspiring innkeeper and his best friend Gier, street brawler and all around man’s man, who find themselves thrust into the middle of a nobleman’s plot to not only seize the reign of their land, but the neighboring kingdom as well.  Which nobleman?  You’ll spend pages upon pages guessing!

Chet Gottfried has a real talent for edge of your seat twists and turns.  Not only do you not see the end coming, you’re taking wildly guesses at the middle and who you thought you knew has a totally different face when the chips start falling.  Having read a wealth of short stories and novels, I have to say that I was wholly unprepared for what felt an unrelenting assault on where I thought the story was going, with plenty of pleasant surprises along the way.  The author keeps the tone light and intersperses humor throughout, making a fully foreign world easy to approach and get completely immersed into.

I highly recommend this one.  Check out The Gilded Basilisk by Chet Gottfried on Amazon, where you can take a peek inside to see what I mean, or buy it in any format over at ReAnimus Press.

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