Friday, March 1, 2019

Spring Is Coming, Right?

An unusual amount of freezing rain here in Southwestern Ontario so far in 2019. Good for writing, though. When the roads are too treacherous to venture outdoors, it gives you a good excuse to take a seat in front of the laptop for awhile.

Recent Publications
A short story entitled "Breakaway" appeared in Issue #1 of Nomadic Delirium's Mundanities in early February. You can find information about the issue here:

"It Is Said" (fantasy poem) and a review of Edward Willett's poetry book, I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust appeared in Star*Line Issue 42.1 (Winter 2019)

Coming Soon
A poem entitled "Long Gone" is scheduled to appear in Issue 133 of Space and Time, due out around March 20, 2019.

What I'm Working On
Until March 15th, I'll still be collecting speculative poetry submissions for Eye to the Telescope Issue 32: Sports and Games, which I am guest editing. Lots of good submissions so far, and looking forward to seeing the final edition go online in April 2019.

I have more ideas for short stories than I can keep up with, so working on bringing some of those ideas to fruition (ah, the tricky part). Based on some of my more recent experiences, I'm going back to trying more up-front thinking before getting started on the meat of the story. This seems to help me provide the appropriate amount of detail, as opposed to just glossing things over. It also tends to reduce the number of dead ends I encounter.

Also catching up on my book review commitments. Some volumes were delayed in the mail, but they're starting to catch up with me—which is a good thing, right?

And poetry ideas continue to suggest themselves, sometimes sparked by news items, sometimes initiated by poetry exercises from books like Wingbeats II or The Crafty Poet.

So, keeping busy, even though it may not look like it from the publication report for February.

On to March. Looking forward to seeing the robins . . .

Friday, February 1, 2019

Winter's Here—Time to Write

Don't know about you, but in late January, winter set in with a vengeance around here. By the end of the month, we were digging out from significant snowfall and trying our best to stay warm. On the plus side, the weather made sitting in front of the computer seem pretty inviting, so I've been getting a fair bit of traction on my various writing projects.

Recent Publications
Have you ever wondered whether attending a visitation or funeral and sharing your positive or funny memories of the deceased with their loved ones matters? My guest post on January 21, 2019 on the Warpworld blog shares my views on the matter.

I also had the opportunity to appear on Canadian writer Colleen Anderson's blog, promoting the next issue of Eye to the Telescope, which I will be guest editing. You can find the link to the blog here, and if it inspires you to submit something to Eye to the Telescope Issue 32: Sports and Games, all the better!

The Saturday Evening Post runs a limerick contest, where they provide an image and invite people to submit a limerick to go with it. I've been a runner-up a couple of times, but was thrilled to get the nod for top spot for the September/October 2018 contest. You can see the winning limerick, and the image that inspired it, here:

In January, I received my print copy of Third Wednesday, Volume XII, No. 1. This particular issue included two of my offerings, "Lost at Sea" (inspired by the orca whale that refused, for a time, to give up its dead calf), and "Canoe Trip, Massasauga Provincial Park". 

Nomadic Delirium's January 2019 Spaceports and Spidersilk included "Dorvan cuisine", a speculative poem.

Coming Soon
Though I only have a few pieces scheduled to come out in February (poems in the print and online versions of Scifaikuest), I have some interesting items coming out later in the year that I'll share a little later.

What I'm Working On
One of the reasons I retired at my earliest opportunity is to reduce stress. In line with that, I've tried to give myself more lead time with writing projects, so it's not always a last-minute scramble. To that end, I'm working on some stories right now with May and June submission dates, as well as re-furbing some of my past story ideas for re-submission to other markets.

Also still trying to exercise the poetry muscle, and from time to time digging into the research I did for my never-completed Master's thesis to see if some sort of non-fiction project might emerge from that.

Till next time...

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January 2019 update

New releases

I had the honour of having a non-fiction piece included in the "Heart and Humanity" section of Relationship Blogger. The piece is entitled "My Grandmother's Legacy", and it includes a black-and-white photo of my mom and I when I was about a year old. Here's the link:

Passages, an anthology that includes two pieces previously published in New Myths,  a short story entitled "Roxy" and a poem, "Fidelus Reinvented", came out in December, 2018. Information can be found here:

Canadian author Edward Willett was kind enough to send me a review copy of his novel Worldshaper. My review appeared on The Future Fire's web site:

I also had a short item about a milkweed seed collection activity I participated in included in the Norfolk Field Naturalists' newsletter and web site:

What I'm Working On

Right now I'm polishing up some non-fiction pieces for submission. There are a few short story ideas in the works as well, with an eye on January and February 2019 deadlines.

Till next time...

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 2018 update

My story "Mission on Nemistat" went online on Electric Spec November 30th. It's another anthro story with an AI-enhanced canine as the protagonist. You can find it here:

Electric Spec was kind enough to invite me, as well as other authors, to contribute to their blog. You can see what I had to say about "Mission on Nemistat" by following this link:

I recently received my copy of Dreams and Nightmares, September 2018, which explores what happens when Little Miss Muffet grows up (and becomes an arachnology professor...), as well as Star*Line Fall 2018, which includes three of my poems: "When the Wild West Meets the Frontier", "The Marvel of Us", and "whirring of wheels on asphalt".

Scifaikuest November 2018 print edition contained two haibun poems, "When the Stars Align", and "One Special Night". 

Mobius also published a poem entitled "One Last Time", which you can find at the link below:

Coming Soon

Also coming in December is a post on the Relationship Blogger's "Heart and Humanity" blog. I'll post the link in the next update. December should see the publication of two poems in the Third Wednesday quarterly publication. 

There's also a short story pending publication about one of my favourite creations, women's professional hockey player turned detective Moira Jenkins. More about that when the anthology hits the press.

What I'm Working On

Another Moira Jenkins story is out on the submission trail, while a third one is undergoing some fine-tuning. I'm also working on some short stories to fit various calls for submission that have caught my interest. 

I still have a backlog of story ideas (including some completed stories that didn't garner acceptances and need some fine-tuning) that I'm working through, so the focus has been more prose than poetry lately.

From time to time, though, a news story gets my interest and spurs some poetic efforts. Not all get published first time around, but one of them (about the orca whale that hung onto its dead offspring for days on end) did land in the Third Wednesday acceptance pool, and others are out there looking for a home. 

Till next time...

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 2018

Leaves are falling, and so is the temperature. This means less time in the garden, but on the plus side, maybe easier to find time for writing. Here's what I've been up to:

New releases

A sci-fi short story entitled "What Lies Beneath" was included in Nomadic Delirium's November 2018 edition of Environmental Holocaust. The story follows the efforts of a Hamilton-based researcher to combat the spread of a virus.

A sci-fi poem entitled  "History Waits to be Written" made it into Polar Borealis #7. More details available here:

Finally, a sci-fi poem "Ghost Stories" was included in the Sounds of the Night anthology from Alban Lake Publishing:

Coming Soon

I have a few stories and poems pending publication, including a couple of items slated for the November print edition of Scifaikuest.

More details to come as publication dates get firmed up.

What I'm Working On

I decided against doing NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, this November. I have this habit of starting things and not finishing them and don't need to add to the list. In fact, as of the start of October, I had 32 short stories underway in various forms of completion. Some have been sent out and rejected, others never quite completed.

When I took a look at the list, I realized that even the previously-sent-out stories would benefit from some tinkering (or, in some cases, re-tooling). My current focus is improving the link between character and plot. I've found a book entitled 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them, by Ronald B. Tobias, useful in a few cases where I liked the basic idea but recognized a need to strengthen the story line. So far, I've dusted off five of the pending stories and sent them on their way. Just 27 to go . . .

Until next month...

Monday, October 1, 2018

October 2018 Update

New releases

New Myths, a publication that's housed my work before, included in their September issue a poem entitled "What Really Happened" as well as a short story "Gone". "What Really Happened" is based on part on the antics of my border collie cross Sneeks, and inspired as well by the Gingham Dog and Calico Cat. "Gone" details a dog's search for her missing human after an alien invasion.

Pieces on the New Myths site are available for viewing free of charge. You'll find the link to all of my New Myths pieces, including the most recent ones, here:

I have a poem entitled "With Two Left Feet" coming out in the upcoming Tesseracts anthology Nevertheless. In connection with that book's promotion, I contributed to their "Bright Spots" blog with a piece entitled "Step By Step", that draws on my recovery from knee surgery.

Advance orders kicked off in September for From a Cat's View, issued by Post-to-Print Publishers. I have three contributions in this anthology. The first is a sci-fi short story "The Open Road", about the adventures of a ship's cat named Quicksilver. There are also two poems inspired by the antics of my cat Smokey, "Moonlight" and "A Cat's Confession". You can find out more about the anthology here:

As part of the promo for this anthology, the publisher is running a give-away for cat-themed items.  See here for info:

I had two reviews, for Paths to the Stars by Edward Willett, and Museum of Second Chances, by A.E. Warren, posted at The Future Fire. I enjoyed both books. Willett's book is a collection of short stories that provides plenty of variety and some unique twists. The Museum of Second Chances takes an interesting look at a future society in which species from the past—including Neanderthal Man—are reintroduced. You can find the reviews at The Future Fire site:

The Martian Wave, from Nomadic Delirium Press, came out toward the end of September. That volume included two poems of my poems, "Understanding", and "Will They?" as well as a short story entitled "The Chienchat Conundrum". This story is set on Arcadia, a planet initially settled by individuals from New Brunswick, and revolves around an Arcadian keystone species that has more to it than meets the eye.

You can find out more about the Martian Wave here:

I also discovered that a limerick I wrote was named a runner-up for Saturday Evening Post "Limerick Laughs" contest from May/June, 2018. You'll find the poem and that of the winner and other runners-up here:

The August print edition of Scifaikuest includes three of my poems, "butterflies on Degna", "He's Come So Far", and "Cravings".

And, last but not least, during a camping trip to Earl Rowe Provincial Park in July, we drove past our old place up in Mulmur. This inspired a nostalgic haibun entitled "Good Reasons" that appears in Contemporary Haibun Online, October 2018, vol. 14 no. 3

Coming Soon

New Myths has a kickstarter campaign on for Passages, Best of New Myths Anthology Volume 1. The book's theme is exploring the joys and challenges of entering and surviving a new stage in life. The antho will include one of my favorite stories, "Roxy". Roxy is a story of an AI-enhanced police dog. More deeply than that, the story touches on what our responsibility is to the animals we use, and in this case, enhance, for jobs like police work. The volume will also feature a poem of mine entitled "Fidelis Reinvented".

Details about the coming anthology here:

What I'm Working On

I still have a pair of book reviews to wrap up, and another book for review enroute in the mail.

Though I didn't get past the first round in "WYRM's Gauntlet", in the course of my research for the first assignment I ran across some interesting advice from Ray Bradbury. One of the pieces of advice for writers was to "stuff your head" by reading one short story, one poem, and one essay each night before bed. I've modified this slightly to suit my own needs, but find that reading poetry in this way (small doses) is more enjoyable and more impactful than sitting down to read a book or poetry zine cover to cover, so I'm giving that a try.

Here's a link to the full article:

Also pondering whether to do NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, in November. If so, I'll be working on a collection of short stories.

And, of course, continuing to work on poems and short stories as time permits.

Until next month...

Monday, September 3, 2018

September already?

Hard to believe September has already arrived. Seems like the summer just started . . .

Nonetheless, here it is—and as the season changes from summer to fall, I've decided to try something new: providing regular blog updates on recent and pending publications, as well as projects I'm currently working on. 

I'm embarking on this project, not out of a sense of ego (I hope), but because readers sometimes what to know what writers are up to. Plus, I enjoy the monthly newsletter Louise Penny, one of my favourite authors, puts out each month, because I enjoy her stuff and particularly like hearing about what she's working on, and when her books are going to launch.

It's in the spirit of letting people know what I'm up to, writing-wise, that I'm launching this feature of the site. So let's start with:

New releases
This month saw the launch of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Yes, which includes a piece I wrote, entitled "What's the Story". "What's the Story" dates back to my days at McMaster University in Hamilton, and how I got my start volunteering with the student newspaper as a sports writer. The great thing about being published in a Chicken Soup anthology is that you get several free copies of the book. I'm taking full advantage of that by reading what my fellow writers had to say about their own outside-the-comfort-zone experiences. I'm about half-way through the book at this point, and really enjoying it.

August also saw the launch of the Future Days Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology published by Castrum Press ( This anthology includes my story "The Caller". Future Days features 17 stories, penned by individuals such as New York Times Bestseller Christopher G. Nuttall, and Amazon Bestsellers, PP Corcoran and Rick Partlow.

The September 2018 issue of Nomadic Delirium's The Fifth Dimension has just come out, and it includes "The Messenger's Mission", an alternate-history story based on the Medusa myth. You can find it here:

Also in August, spurred by a suggestion one of the anthology publishers made to its authors, I set up an Amazon Author profile. Though I had my trepidations, the process turned out to be pretty straightforward.

Coming Soon
New Myths ( a publication I've had three short stories and two poems published in to date, has a new anthology coming out in the fall, Passages, Best of New Myths Anthology Volume 1. The book's theme is exploring the joys and challenges of entering and surviving a new stage in life. The antho will include one of my favorite stories, "Roxy". Roxy is a story of an AI-enhanced police dog. More deeply than that, the story touches on what our responsibility is to the animals we use, and in this case, enhance, for jobs like police work. The volume will also feature a poem of mine entitled "Fidelis Reinvented". New Myths is planning a kickstarter campaign, beginning September 15th.

I'm looking forward to the launch of Tesseracts' Nevertheless, scheduled for September 2018. This anthology includes a poem I wrote, entitled "With Two Left Feet". Although former teammates may suspect it's about my hockey playing days, the poem is actually a futuristic piece about how we find hope even in dark times.  

Also coming soon (October) is an anthology entitled From A Cat's POV, issued by Post-to-Print Publishers. I have three contributions in this anthology. The first is a sci-fi short story "The Open Road", about the adventures of a ship's cat named Quicksilver. There are also two poems inspired by the antics of my cat Smokey (see photos below) during the too-brief time he lived with us. The poems are titled "Moonlight" and "A Cat's Confession". You can find out more about the anthology here:

What I'm Working On
I'm currently working at wrapping up some book reviews I've committed to. I'm also progressing, albeit more slowly than I'd like, on a sci-fi short story that references the Last Spike, and have some other short stories in process as well. Main focus for the coming month will be to get some more short stories in the submission queue.

I also signed up for a contest called "WYRM's Gauntlet", which involves completing a number of challenges. The first is reading and reviewing a specific story (one I'd never encountered before) by Harlan Ellison. Only eight competitors get chosen to advance to the next round, so here's hoping  . . .