Friday, October 25, 2013

A Measure of Spice and a Pinch of News

I'm working on finishing a story I started a long time ago. I think it will be a good fit for Neil Clarke's UPGRADED cyborg anthology, which was a successful Kickstarter project. The story is called A Measure of Spice. Spice is the name of the anti-heroine of the story. That's all I'm going to say for now. The cutoff for submission is Oct. 31st, so there's much to do...

It's been quite awhile since I updated this blog and my Examiner site. My excuse is that I got completely invested in completing my Master's degree in Digital Imaging & Design (or is it Advanced Digital Imaging, the degree's name may have changed during the time it took for me to complete it). Anyway, that excuse is all used up as I finally graduated last month. And while I job search I will make the time to update this blog, my website (I have one now..., (tweet), write some stories, and maybe even the occasional article for Examiner. I'm attempting to write a novel next month for NaNoWriMo. More on that in a later post.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Interviewing Robert J. Sawyer

So, this week and last week I interviewed Hugo and Nebula-winning Canadian SF author Robert J. Sawyer for my column at The link to my column is on the right side of this page but here's a direct link to the article... 

Anyway, it's been a pleasure speaking with him (picking his brain). Fortunately, unlike some SF authors, he's NOT a technophobe or Luddite. We've been conducting the interviews via Skype. Logistically it would be difficult to meet in person. I hope to have that opportunity in the future when he visits New York, or if I'm in Canada, or at a Con, etc. Posted the second part of my first interview with him today. 

Fortunately, I have plenty of good content for my column from the interviews. It just takes a while to sort it all out from the recordings. Oh, I'm recording the conversation from Skype with GarageBand. I'm sure there's a better way but it works for my purposes. I have lots to discuss with him in our ongoing series of interviews but if you, dear reader, have any suggestions I am open to them.

Trying to get caught up with stuff since returning from California. Didn't really help that I adopted a dog upon my return to New York. Still, I have no regrets. Sawyer, my dog (named after the LOST character, not Robert J.) was a lot of work initially. That's to be expected when you adopt a four year old dog who was abused and left in a high-kill shelter in Staten Island. Lucky for him and me, he was rescued by a nice lady in the Brooklyn (or was it the Bronx) and was living with a bevy of pit bulls, so he had to spend a lot of time in a crate. He's a small dog and after a lot of discipline on my part and Sarah's (my girlfriend) as well as a lot of patience and love he's really shinning. Very smart dog. Maybe too smart. Anyway, that's all the news about the two Sawyers for now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recent News

So, as some of you might already know I recently received my third Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future. I entered three quarters of the contest and I got an HM each time. Not too shabby for someone who just started writing science fiction a little over a year ago. The trick is to get to the next level and I have a bunch of stories just screaming at me to complete them. I'm planning on entering the next quarter of the contest and hopefully will be entering in the Illustrators of the Future contest before long.

Odds are that I'll be attending grad school full-time next semester in order to complete my degree in a timely manner. Currently, I am working on my final project for my first 3-D class. I'm using Maya to create a science fiction cityscape. And I'll be doing a lot more science fiction illustration/rendering in the future as well as more game art. (I even have my own game in development). More news to follow...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Honorable Mention Certificate

So, my class was cancelled a couple hours before it was supposed to start last week, which was just as well because I spent the rest of my birthday sick as a dog from stomach flu. I really didn't feel well until Friday.

Today I got my 2nd honorable mention certificate. I think I was a bit paralyzed from going ahead with my writing until I received it. There's two weeks left for submitting to the 4th quarter of WotF. I'm partway through a few stories and I have no idea which one will find its way to completion by the deadline. Hmmm.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Year Older (and Hopefully Wiser)

The much dreaded birthday is upon me and not as bad as I had feared. Actually, it's been kind of nice. I feel younger than I have felt for years. Time to put that new found energy to a purpose; there's much writing to do.

I will be spending part of my birthday in school, the first day of classes for a new semester.  I think I'm making the right decision by continuing forward with my studies. Only time will tell. Being published this year would be very welcome.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

WotF Facts & Figures

So what does it all mean? I've been trying to figure out exactly how I stacked up to the competition in Writers of the Future. For those of you don't know, its the most prestigious writing contest for new writers of science fiction and fantasy. Its judged by the best science fiction and fantasy writers in the business (some of whom were winners, finalists and honorable mentions themselves).

I entered the contest twice, (actually three times but I won't know the results of that quarter for several months), and I got a honorable mention twice. I started writing science fiction for the first submission. (I wrote it in three weeks, before the deadline, and sent it on the deadline).  So, if it weren't for the contest I wouldn't be writing SF.

There contest has four quarters every year. Basically, its ongoing. If you miss the deadline for one quarter, you'll make the next one. You're only allowed one submission per quarter and submissions can be up to 17,000 words. No nonfiction, poetry, etc... just original science fiction and fantasy. L. Ron Hubbard started the contest to help young writers break into the exceeding hard business of professional writing (i.e. getting discovered and published). (It has nothing to do with Scientology).

There are three winners each quarter. 1st prize is $1,000, 2nd prize is $750, 3rd prize is $500. All winners are published in the yearly anthology, which gets more industry attention than most anthologies. (Sometimes finalists are published in the anthology, as well). At the end of the year there's a ceremony in Hollywood, where a Grand Prize winner is selected, whom receives an additional $5,000. (Plus all the winners get nifty trophies). There are also a week of writing classes conducted by some of the leading science fiction and fantasy writers. And there's a book signing by the winners. Agents, publishers and the like attend the ceremony. Oh, did I mention that there's no entry fee to the contest!

No exact figures are available as to how many submissions there are every quarter. Some say it's in the thousands. I heard that it more like 1,200 to 2,000 per quarter. I spoke (emailed) to Joni Labaqui, the contest administrator, and she said that the quarter I just got my honorable mention, Q2 2010, had more submissions than they ever had before. So, let's safely assume that it's over 2,000 submissions. She has also stated in the past that the top 10%-15% get a honorable mention or better.

I tallied the honorable mentions for this quarter; there were 95. There were 3 silver honorable mentions, which is a new category created due to the increased volume of entries. The coming quarters are sure to see a big spike in entries as they now accept electronic submissions. (No more trips to my awful post office, at least not for this contest). There were 10 semi finalists and 8 finalists. I feel like I did pretty well for a fledgling author.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Honorable Mention!

Well, finally WotF came back with the final list of honorable mentions and my name was on it. Not bad but I was hoping to place better this time around. Still have not received a response that my story for the following quarter was received and I don't expect to. I never heard that my honorable mention story had been received and I was hoping that it wasn't lost in the mail or rejected. OK, time to finish another story and another four month wait to get the results of the last quarter of the contest!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I just received an advance uncorrected proof of "Gateways," an anthology tribute to Frederik Pohl, edited by his wife Elizabeth Anne Hull. Pretty cool. I signed up for it and they sent it, straight from the Tor/Forge publicity department. I'll be posting a full review in my column Science Fiction Examiner and a write up on Goodreads.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The New Science Fiction Pen

Sci Fi Pen is now Science Fiction Pen, again and hopefully for the last time. Its got a whole new, streamlined look. Check it out. Comment are always appreciated. In other news... slowly losing my mind waiting for Writers of the Future to announce the next round of honorable mentions, and possibly semi-finalists and finalists; holding my breath.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gateway Recommendation

Gateway (Heechee Saga 1)Gateway by Frederik Pohl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easily one of the finest science fiction stories ever written. It is unique in the fact that the protagonist relates much of the story, his past, while on a computer psychiatrist's couch. A must read for any true SF fan.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just Under the Wire

Well, mailed out another submission to WotF today for the 3rd quarter of the contest. today, of course, was the last day to submit for that quarter. I really must try to get these things done sooner. Anyway, I hope to be hearing about my 2nd quarter story, in the near future.

I'm going to send out Simian D again for publication. A new online magazine called Lightspeed just opened, so I'll probably send it there if it doesn't make it into Asimov's. The next challenge, a big challenge, is to write a novel. I have a few good ideas, an opening or two but it is a daunting prospect. Well, justified or not, I have to believe that I can do it. The key, as Jordan Lapp, a recent WotF winner says is to "write fast and write often." I'm disciplining myself to do that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Back to Business

I have been a little lax on writing but I'm getting back to it now. I have a few stories in various states of completion. Yesterday, WotF announced the first set of honorable mentions for the 2nd quarter of this year's contest. I still don't know if my story was received on time or if it was received at all. I should find out in due course.

There are a couple more days until the end of the 3rd quarter of WotF, so I have my work cut out for me. It would also be nice to sell a story (or two). Considering the amount of science fiction films and tv shows I've been viewing lately (and read a bit, too) I feel pretty inspired. A writer writes...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hell Defined

I'm posting an email I got from a member of my writing group that put a smile on my face...

The following is an actual question given on University of Washington
chemistry mid-term.  The answer by one student was so 'profound' that
the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is,
of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well :

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic
(absorbs heat)?

Most students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas
cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some
variant.  One student, however, wrote the following:

"First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So
we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the
rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that
once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are
leaving.  As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the
different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their
religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these
religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we
can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as
they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase
exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in
Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and
pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand
proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

 1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which
souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will
increase until all Hell breaks loose.
 2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls
in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell
freezes over.

So which is it?  If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa
during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I
sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her
last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell
is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this
theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not
accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct......leaving only
Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains
why, last night, Teresa kept
shouting 'Oh my God."


Contest Results

I didn't win the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest. Thought I had a pretty good shot at it. That I lost to at least one Hugo award-winning, professional writer takes a bit of the sting out of it. Haven't heard from the Writers of the Future that they received my story. Hopefully, better luck with that one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Meetup

Attended another New York Science Fiction Writers Meetup. Still not sure exactly what to think about it. I got some valid constructive criticism, some was ill-informed, the venue and format of the meeting was not optimal. Maybe future meeting will go smoother. It would help if people brought examples of their work to review and critique (other than me). Otherwise it's just a meeting to talk about writing, which isn't very helpful. I remain doubtful but open to possibility. Might be some good contacts there, after all.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Twitter, the Social Network of Record

I didn't know that all my tweets would be publicly available for perpetuity when I wrote them. I guess I should be careful with what I say. It seems that the Library of Congress will be archiving all tweets since Twitter began in 2006. So, your tweets may be read by your great, great, great, great grandchildren in 2210. I hope you didn't say something stupid.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Simian D

I'm going to give Simian D another pass. I've gotten some good feedback on it and it has been generally well received. I have to thank George Galuschak for some helpful advice. Still trying to figure out where to send it off to next. Strange Horizons?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

First Rejection Letter

Well, my story wasn't accepted into Clarkesworld, which isn't too surprising seeing as how they only have 12 unsolicited stories a year (1 per issue). I got the news this morning. I'm pretty impressed that they have such a quick review process; I sent the story in Wednesday night. The good thing about that is now I can send it elsewhere and I may even make some small changes to it. I have some new stories in various stages of completion that I would like to finish first.

In a strange way, this seems like the start of a professional career, as I fully except to receive many more rejections before selling a story. I am committed to continue writing and submitting, and eventually I will be successful. It is also very encouraging that my family and others  are so pleased with my writing. I have never gotten this kind of encouragement for my previous endeavors. They are genuinely taken with my writing, and I feel that it is something I do well. I'm getting better at it all the time.

Now, the wait is on for the Jim Baen Memorial Contest. I may have a chance at that one and I'll know if I've won by May 5th, which is not such a long wait. I haven't heard from Writers of the Future that they received my story yet... I probably won't hear that for another week or more. So, onward and upward. I had a pretty interesting dream this morning that has the potential to become a strong story...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Magazine Submission

OK, I revised my honorable mention story from Writers of the Future and I sent it in to Clarkesworld. God, I'm feeling jittery. They have a pretty quick turnaround so I should get my rejection letter within three days. On the off chance my story is accepted, I suppose it will be cause for celebration. I'm going to the opera on friday so that could work out swimmingly. Gulp.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ta Dah!

I seemed to pull a magical feat last night when I submitted a story for the Jim Baen Memorial Contest. It was writing and editing down to the wire, of a story started a few months ago but not written in earnest, until... this week! That comes on the heels of my new Writers of the Future story that was also completed just in time to make the postmark date! Didn't think I could do it, but pushed hard for it. So tired.

This morning I read about a 16 year old sailor who is attempting to break the record for the youngest person to complete a solo circumnavigation. She is doing it in a very fast boat, an Open 40, non-stop, and just rounded Cape Horn. Now, I don't feel like I accomplished such a Herculean task this week, after all.

As a life-long sailor, I have been dreaming of doing such a thing myself. Good luck, Abby!

The best I can do for now is write some new stories about sailing... on other planets and in deep space. I've been planning on that for a while and had already started one. Damn. Got to get back out on the water.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Down, One to Go... For Real

Finally, finally, finally, I finished my story for Writers of the Future. Just got it out before the post office closed. I am so spent. I still have to finish another story for the Baen Memorial Contest by tomorrow. Man, nothing like a deadline to motivate a guy. I don't think I would have self-imposed these kind of deadlines for myself.

I have to thank my writing group, Writers of the Weird, for all their support and comments. I leaned heavily on their critiques to revise my story.

These are pretty bare-boned stories. I don't know if that's good or bad, but they're concise. It seems to be the kind of writing I'm doing lately. Well, at least there's nothing superfluous in them and they leave the reader wanting more. I'm much more focused now, so I don't think the wait should be so hard this time around.

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.


ABC ruins LOST with annoying V countdown
I am so angry with ABC, I could spit!

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One Down, One to Go

I got some really good critiques of my new Writers of the Future story from the Writers of the Weird on Sunday. I had to rush out of there for a Pre-Passover dinner with my family. I didn't get back to the story until Monday afternoon. It is much shorter now, more than half as short as my honorable mention story, "Simian D." Speaking of which, I planning on revising "Simian D" and submitting it to Clarkesworld. First, I have to make sure this new WotF story is up to par before sending it in. I have another story for the Baen Memorial Contest that needs a lot of work. That isn't due until Thursday. Plenty of time ;)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dunna, Dunna, Dunna Dunna...

Ugh, two deadlines swiftly approaching like a great white from the murky depths, dunna! Could I procrastinate more? I think not. I seem to work best with a deadline, sometimes up to the last moment, but I'd like to get some feedback so I've got to get this done... tonight. Well, maybe tomorrow morning. Time for a self-imposed deadline. Tomorrow by high noon! One of these days I'm going get that whole Hemingway thing down, and write for four hours straight every morning. Definitely gotta pick up the pace to make some mullah and get some notice. Getting a novel done would be the penultimate.