Tag Archives: UFO anthology

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 69: The One That Is, The One That Will Be, and The One Remembered

Some troops deploy stronger than others...

Some troops deploy stronger than others…

So it’s been a busy month, not the least because I’m waist deep in slush for Unidentified Funny Objects 5 [SIDENOTE: Writers! Send us your funny!!].  Anyway, in the space of like a weekend I’ve got news of new stories.  It’s a trifecta folks, which is strange considering how we got here.

First, the one that is.  Freshly printed in the inaugural issue of the new prozine Compelling Science Fiction, check out my hard SF story “Opportunities for Lost Children.”  This one was one of my wife’s favorite pieces, full of old money, augmented reality, luchadors and a dude named Joke Roosevelt.

Secondly, the one that will be.  Specifically, my latest story “Episodes from the Abner-Mortimer Karmic War” sold to the folks over at the No Sh!t, There I Was anthology.  Conceived by Steven Saus and edited by the illustrious Rachel Acks, these stories promise to be the most awesome over the top tales you’ll find anywhere.  Currently the Kickstarter to support the project is live.  I hope you check it out.  Preorder!  Your money raises my pay rate… papa needs a PlayStation VR headset, which is likely the closest I’ll come to a holodeck in my lifetime.

Finally, we have the one remembered.  Ares Magazine bought my story “King of the Shell Game” like forever ago.  I’m talking like March of 2014.  They said they wanted it, would pay on publication and… went quiet.  It was that deathly stillness horror in the fog kinda quiet.  That process let me know authors age in dog years when they’re waiting to see their stuff hit print.  A year later, March 2015, the folks over at Ares hit me and said my story would appear sometime within the next three issues.  Cool.  Months went by.  And I just plain stopped checking.  I finally got an impulse to look into it and there it was… no announcement about it or nothing.  It’s just hanging out there, quietly being a story I really enjoyed writing, this cool concept of energy beings wearing other sentient races as shells and absorbing the host’s attributes for a short while.  I urge you all to check it out.

 

 

 

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UFO 4 Needs You!

ufo4

Hey gang,

Been a minute since our last one-sided conversation in cyberspace, right?  Soon I’ll update you with news on what I’ve been up to, but in the meanwhile UFO 4 is dropping!  Once again I’m on board as an associate editor, reading anonymous stories in the slush.  That’s going down in April, but right now the Kickstarter’s active, it’s coming down to the last ten days and we need your support.

You guys aren’t new to this if you’ve seen me work.  And there’s a lot to love about the 4th installment.  Stories by Neil Gaiman and G.R.R. Martin top the list of headliners, specializing in dark humor.  That’s right folks, UFO 4 is all dark humor this time and around.  This kind of stuff has always been a favorite of mine because of the wicked fun of it all.  Who doesn’t wanna laugh at something we should probably not be laughing about?

If I can get it into my mind to do something appropriately dark and funny I may have a story in it as well… we’ll see.  In the meanwhile, head on over to the site, check it out and preorder/support the cause!

 

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War Journal 63: Transition Story

I feel like an errant parent with this blog, where I keep promising myself I’ll give it some attention and then one thing comes up and another until you don’t wanna actually look at the date of your last post and when you do you grimace.  I figured any day wordpress was gonna show up at my door like social services and take their site back.

Glad they didn’t.  It feels good to be on the new post draft page again, a therapy of sorts.  Ok, so a bunch has happened since July 3 and February 25, the date of my last post.  Some of it big, some of it small, I’ll hip you to what I recall as the things that kept me from blogging.

1. Moved into a house.  While I was deployed my wife and son were living in an apartment, awaiting my return so we could buy a house.  We did a lot of looking and touring and deliberating and finally found a place we think is perfect for us

2. Novel.  Ok, so I finally finished my second novel.  In fact, most of my beta readers have already come back with largely positive feedback.  While I wait for my other readers responses, I’ve already started writing book three.

3. Skyrim.  Seriously.  I bought the legendary edition too.  I haven’t lost that much time to a video game since my old WoW days.

that fire on screen is all your writing time burning away.

that fire on screen is all your writing time burning away.

4. Writing short stories.  No, that was a joke.  I was playing Skyrim.  But I did manage to sell a couple.  A new story, The Discounted Seniors, is set to appear in Unidentified Funny Objects 3 and the other, a reprint of Orc Legal, is set to be published in Fantasy Scroll.  You guys know how I love UFO, and Fantasy Scroll is a relatively new venue that absolutely reeks of promise and substance.

So now that we’re all up to date, I’m pretty sure I’ll be more apt to update this blog, Skyrim or no… WAIT! Did I just get the ability to summon a skeleton ghost horse?!  WHAT?!

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