Saturday, May 2, 2020

May 2020 update

Since mid-March, we've been laying low due to the coronavirus. I have the good fortune of living on a spacious property where I can exercise my Border Collie without worrying about social distancing issues. She for one isn't complaining about the extra outdoor time.

Recent Publications

A poem entitled "Lorelei" was published in Polar Borealis: Magazine of Canadian Speculative Fiction, Issue 14, April 2020:

My review of Zooscape, Issue 6, March 2020, appeared on The Future Fire's site, at the link below:

This online zine features anthropomorphic stories with a speculative flair; the issue I reviewed included both fantasy and science fiction entries. Worth taking a look if you enjoy this type of story. My personal favorite was "The Adventures of WaterBear and Moss Piglet."

My poem "No Fairy Tale World" was included in the 2020 Rhysling Anthology, which is issued by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. Work must be nominated to land in this volume, and it's the first time one of my poems has had the distinction of appearing in it, so I'm grateful for that.

What I’m Working On
Though I've been sending out poems through April, I've been mainly focussed on working on in-process speculative fiction pieces, and managed to send out several stories for consideration. Hoping to continue that progress in May.

Also in the draft stages of writing a review of How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, by K. Eason.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

April 2020 update

Recent Publications

"Hand-Stitched Love" was included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Moms, which was released in March. This story originally appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada.

A short humour piece entitled “Tipping Point” was printed in Our Canada, April/May 2020.

A poem titled “A Dish Best Served” appeared in Liminality, Issue 23, Spring 2020. Link:

What I’m Working On
Plotting and writing short stories has been a focus for the past month.

I have two reviews in process, and two recently completed. In process are reviews of Deborah L. Davitt’s poetry collection The Gates of Never, and K. Eason’s novel How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse.

I finished reviews of A. J. Hackwith’s original and entertaining fantasy novel The Library of the Unwritten and the March 2020 issue of Zooscape, and sent them to possible markets.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

March 2020 update

Recent Publications

My review of John Marrs’ near-future thriller The Passengers appeared on The Future Fire’s site on February 5th. Marrs’ novel provides a thought-provoking and well-researched look at the possible perils and impacts of autonomous vehicles. Here’s a link for those interested:

A space opera short story entitled “Duplicity” appeared in Outposts of Beyond, January 2020, while a poem, “In a Minor Key,” was included in Spaceports and Spidersilk, February 2020.

A short poem [talent show] was included in Frozen Wavelets issue 2. Link below:

Two short poems, [the enemy wakens] and [surrounded by frogs], were included in Scifaikuest February 2020 print edition.

A poem entitled “Altered,” inspired by a news story, appeared in Trouble Among the Stars, Issue 5, February 2019,

Three poems, [zombie night], [hang time], and [scorched earth], were included in Star*Line 43.1, Winter 2020.

What I’m Working On
As noted last month, my main focus lately has been short fiction. Sent out a few pieces in February (including my first venture into Steampunk) and continuing to refine others for March sendout.

I’m also working on reviews of a couple of enjoyable and original novels I recently finished reading, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason and The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith. Deborah Davitt was also kind enough to send a copy of her poetry collection The Gates of Never for review.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 2020 update

Recent Publications
Apparition Lit published my poem “At the Bleeding Edge” in January, 2020, while “Wings of Wax” appeared in Polar Borealis Issue 13, January 2020 (see links below)

My poem “Boys of Summer” made its way into Third Wednesday, Volume XIII, No. 1, Winter 2020.

What I’m Working On
I’m still working on a backlog of short story ideas, and finding James Scott Bell’s How to Write Pulp Fiction and Erik Bork’s The Idea: the Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage, or Fiction helpful in identifying some of my past issues with plot development.

Working through these books has helped me break through a bit of a barrier. Here’s hoping that can be sustained, leading to more productivity on the short story front in the next few months.

Coming Soon
I have a few poems slated for publication in the next few months, including one entitled “For Laika” in House of Zolo, and a couple of items in Scifaikuest.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

January 2020 update

Before I retired, I worked at a company that came up with a 2020 vision, laying out what they wanted to achieve by the time 2020 rolled around. As I recall, the plan was developed at least a decade in advance of 2020. At the time, that particular date seemed so far away, but here it is!

I've lost track of whether they actually achieved what they planned, but I do know that each new year brings the opportunity to start with a clean slate and with new goals. Looking forward to what might be accomplished in 2020.

Recent Publications
An article about growing seedlings appeared in Small Farm Canada. You can find the online version of the story here:

Many thanks to the interviewees who generously gave of their time to provide information for this piece!

A poem titled "One Among Many" was published in Polar Borealis Issue 12.

Four speculative poems, [supply ship], [cleanup], [flashlight's beam leaps], and [tailgating], appeared in Scifaikuest, November print edition, Alban Lake Publishing.

Three poems, "Farming on Eta Four," [engrossed in the game], and [stale taste in the air], were included in Random Planets, published by Alban Lake Publishing.

A poem entitled "Flattened" was included Small Farmer's Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2.

My review of W. Michael Gear's space opera Outpost was posted on Goodreads, December 9, 2019.

What I’m Working On
Working on a handful of poetry submissions for submission in January. Also still plugging away at some fiction ideas.

Coming Soon
A poem entitled "For Laika" will appear in the House of Zolo in the spring of 2020. This is a reprint of a poem that originally appeared in Lynn River Review Vol. 3: Resonance, Renaissance.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

December 2019 update

Lately, my go-to book for ongoing writing development has been Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore. The book contains plenty of good exercises and examples, and I’d like to think that some of the suggestions have helped me refine my techniques as I’ve been preparing some pieces for submission to Chicken Soup for the Soul and other venues.

As for fiction writing, improving my plot development continues to be one of my main focus areas. I have some ideas I like, but putting it all together in a way that sustains reader interest and builds to a conclusion hasn’t been my strength. Where I have succeeded in developing a good plot, I think it’s been partly by accident, as the story line has built itself.

To try to shore up that particular area, I’ve taken a suggestion I saw online and tried to look at plotting through a screenwriting lens, using a particular article from, entitled “Story Structure: The 5 Key Turning Points of All Successful Screenplays”, written by Michael Hauge. The article includes concrete examples and a breakdown of screenplay structure. We’ll see in the coming months whether applying some of those techniques can translate into greater success in developing fiction that escapes the slush pile.

Recent Publications
My review of Microcosm Publishing’s Bikes Not Rockets: Intersectional Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories (Bikes in Space issue #5) appeared on The Future Fire, November 12, 2019. An interesting read for fans of science fiction with a feminist twist.

“The Last Exodus,”, [clearing the land], [hypno-teacher breaks down], and [a swim in Arcadia’s … ] were published in Scifaikuest November 2019 online edition. (Link below).

What I’m Working On
I’m fine-tuning a review of Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago. Sending this one out will finally clear the backlog of reviews I’ve been chipping away at for awhile.

Reviews of Jack Campbell’s military science fiction novel Ascendant, John Marrs’ futuristic thriller The Passengers, and W. Michael Gear’s space opera Outpost have been sent out to prospective markets, and a review of Suzanne Palmer’s space opera Finder was accepted by New Myths, with publication date to be confirmed.

I’m also working on a few creative non-fiction pieces for submission to Chicken Soup for the Soul and other publications.

Coming Soon
Several poems are scheduled to come out in various publications in early 2020. I also have a poem scheduled for an upcoming issue of Third Wednesday.

Friday, November 1, 2019

November 2019 update

Rainy weather to close out October and kick off November here in Southern Ontario. The warm daily temperatures we enjoyed through much of the previous month have come to an end, and those trees which have still retained some of their colorful leaves look to be soon to relinquish those, hopefully before it snows in earnest.

Recent Publications

Three poems, “Greener Grass,” “Same Mistakes,”, and “Somewhere Else,” appeared in A Poet Explores the Stars, Nomadic Delirium, published October, 2019.

“Flying by Instinct,” which was first published in The Martian Wave, got a second life as a reprint in Bards and Sages Quarterly, October 2019.

Eye to the Telescope’s Tricksters issue, posted October 15, 2019, included my poem titled “The Magic Touch”:

A short story titled “A Dose of Humility” appeared in From A Cat’s View: Volume II. “A Dose of Humility” follows the continuing adventures of AI-enhanced cat Quicksilver and her canine sidekick Pepper, both of whom were introduced in “The Open Road”, published in the first From a Cat’s View anthology.

A review of Edward Willett’s second installment in the Worldshaper series, Master of the World, was posted on The Future Fire’s review site, at the link below:

What I’m Working On
I’m currently working on reviews for Elly Blue’s Bikes Not Rockets” Intersectional Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories, Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago, and W. Michael Gear’s Outpost.

Also working on some short stories for submission through November.

Coming Soon
Some of my work will appear in the print and online November issues of Scifaikuest. I also have a piece scheduled for an upcoming issue of Third Wednesday.