Monday, June 30, 2008

Exhausted But Elated

I've been writing my butt off for the last five days straight and now I'm finally done.

You see, June 30th (tonight) was my deadline for completing my final draft of Dreaming Creek. I won't bore you with the innumerable trials and tribulations, but it's done. I'm exhausted but elated. What was an 81,700 word draft two weeks ago had (best guess) about 1000 extraneous words cut, yet the final draft that I'll turn in to my editor is approx. 88,500 words long. So I've written nearly 8,000 new words, mostly since last Thursday.

I finished final edits/rewrites on Part Five today (all 160 pages of it), although like Part Four, it wasn't as onerous as some of the earlier parts. I think this is partly because I had done some work on them previously (when I should have been working on Parts 1 - 3 but couldn't bring myself to look at them because they were such a mess), and partly because by time I had gotten to the end (when I was doing my first draft) I was simply a better writer with a better handle on the novel form. (I started out writing short stories. You should have seen my very first draft; the early parts read like so many short stories strung together. And my handling of POV was atrocious. I got my first serious lesson on POV from OSC's Boot Camp and had a lot more work to do to fix the POV problems in the early parts.)

The story's plot is the same as what I started with, but I think the storytelling is much better. I have learned so much in the past few years, and with all the work I do as an editor these days, it was a pleasure to finally apply it to my own work.

Anyway, that's about all for now. Frankly, it's all I have the energy for. But I had to share. I'm done, I'm thrilled, I'm turning it in tonight.

Did I mention that I'm exhausted but elated?

BTW, before I go, I have to give a huge shout-out of thanks to Gray Rinehart, a friend and assistant editor over at Baen Books. Although Dreaming Creek is not a Baen kind of book at all, he has taken his free time to help me proof the MS. He caught more typos that I thought could possibly exist in a single manuscript and made some suggestions that really added to the overall story. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Keeping it in perspective - that's what kids are good for.

I got my advance review copy (ARC) of the IGMS anthology the other day and I'm showing it off to my family when my oldest daughter (she's 12 going on 29) says to me, "When is your book coming out?"

I hold up the ARC and said, "This one? It comes out on August 5th."

"No," she says. "YOUR novel. I've told my friends at school about it and there are people with expectations." She says 'expectations' like they are on her, and no one else in the world could possibly understand the implications of such a thing.

I reply, "My novel won't come out for about three more months, late September." Then I hold up the ARC again and say, "But this one will be out in about a month."

Her reply?

"Sorry, dad. That one doesn't count. You didn't write that one."

That one doesn't count.

That's what she tells me.

Keepin' it real in the Schubert house...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mama’s Boy

A little plug for a friend of mine to celebrate the recent release of her collection:

A Mother’s Love can be Devastating

Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel!

Nothing good comes of the closest ties in Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales, the new collection from Fran Friel and Apex Publications. Things can go especially awry when the tie in question is the one binding mother and son.

The Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella “Mama’s Boy” is the cornerstone of this 14-story collection from author Fran Friel and Apex Publications. A man whose mother’s demented love for him has turned him from an innocent boy to a serial killer to a near-comatose mental patient opens his world to a psychologist determined to reach him as a way of dealing with her own mother’s battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But is she helping, or is there more damage to be done?

In “Mashed,” a son’s simple request for potatoes with his birthday dinner opens up a world of past fears and childhood torments for his mother, while the flash fiction story “Close Shave” presents a horrifically funny solution to an everyday women’s issue.

From mother and son to broader family ties, Friel explores the bonds of human connection into every dark turn. The humorous yet wickedly creepy “Under the Dryer” begins as a tale told by the family dog and ends in a bloodbath; “Special Prayers,” perhaps the most disturbing offering in the collection, exposes a family secret of abuse and power; and the tragically soft and beautiful “Orange and Golden” explores the purest form of the human-animal bond as the sun sets on a natural disaster.

Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales is now available. Released on June 14, 2008.

FRAN FRIEL is a Bram Stoker-nominated author residing in rural New England with her husband and their band of animal masters. She writes weekly columns for “The Horror Library Blog-O-Rama” and “Yada, Too,” and she is a fiction editor for Dark Recesses Press. As a full member of The Horror Library, her short fiction appears regularly in the Fresh Meat department.

Friel’s work has been featured in the 2006 anthology release Horror Library, Volume 1, as well as publications online and in print at The Horror Library, Insidious Reflections, Wicked Karnival, The Lightning Journal, Lamoille Lamentations, The Eldritch Gazette, and Dark Recesses Press.

APEX PUBLICATIONS is a small press dedicated to publishing exemplary works of dark science fiction and horror. Owned and operated by Jason B. Sizemore, Apex publishes the critically acclaimed Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest. In 2006, Apex Publishing branched into producing novellas, collections, and anthologies, earning a Bram Stoker Award nomination for the Aegri Somnia anthology in 2007.


Apex is only doing 100 copies of the hardcover. All copies will be signed by Fran Friel and Billy Tackett (cover and interior artist).

A standard trade paperback will also be available.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ender In Flight - new Orson Scott Card story on IGMS

The Ender's Game story for issue eight of
IGMS has been posted today. Titled "Ender's Flight," it is available to anyone who purchases or has already purchased issue 8. It begins thus:

{self-shred protocol}
Re: In or out?

My dear Quince, I'm quite aware of the difference between combat command and flying a colony ship for a few dozen lightyears. If you feel your usefulness in space is over, then by all means, retire with full benefits. But if you stay in, and remain in near space, I can't promise you promotion within the I.F.

We suddenly find ourselves afflicted with peace, you see. Always a disaster for those whose careers have not reached their natural apex.

The colony ship I have offered you is not, contrary to your too-often-stated opinion (try discretion now and then, Quince, and see if it might not work better), a way to send you to oblivion. Retirement is oblivion, my friend. A forty- or fifty-year voyage means that you will outlive all of us who remain behind. All your friends will be dead. But you'll be alive to make new friends. And you'll be in command of a ship. A nice, big, fast one.

This is what the whole fleet faces. We have heroes out there who fought this war that The Boy is credited with winning. Have we forgotten them? ALL our most significant missions will involve decades of flight. Yet we must send our best officers to command them. So at any given moment, most of our best officers will be strangers to everyone at CentCom because they've been in flight for half a lifetime.

Eventually, ALL the central staff will be star voyagers. They will look down their noses at anyone who has NOT taken decades-long flights between stars. They will have cut themselves loose from Earth's timeline. They will know each other by their logs, transmitted by ansible.

What I'm offering you is the only possible source of career-making voyages: Colony ships.

And not only "a" colony ship, but one whose governor is a thirteen-year-old boy. Are you seriously going to tell me that you don't understand that you are not his "nanny," you are being entrusted with the highly responsible position of making sure that The Boy stays as far from Earth as possible, while also making sure that he is a complete success in his new assignment so that later generations cannot judge that he was not treated well?

Naturally, I did not send you this letter, and you did not read it. Nothing in this is to be construed as a secret order. It is merely my personal observation about the opportunity that you have been offered by a polemarch who believes in your potential to be one of the great admirals of the I.F.

Are you in? Or out? I need to draw up the papers one way or the other within the week.

Your friend, Cham

Monday, June 16, 2008

Peter Beagle's IGMS Story In Top 10 for 2007

Just a quick tidbit: Peter Beagle's story, "We Never Talk About My Brother," from issue 5 has been named one of the Top 10 stories of 2007 on storySouth's Million Writer's Award. As of tomorrow "We Never Talk About My Brother" will be available for free on the IGMS website for the duration of the voting, so that people can read it and decide if they want to vote for it as the top story of the year. This same story is also up for a Locus Award for Best Novelette of 2007, and it makes the second straight year an IGMS story has landed on storySouth's Top 10 list. I'm really pleased for both Peter Beagle, who's a great guy who's written an exceptional story (the day Scott Card read it his first comment was that the story ought to win some awards and it looks like a lot of folks agree with him on that), and for IGMS, which is slowly but surely catching on and getting noticed within the SF community as well as outside of it.

In a happy coincidence, the upcoming issue of IGMS (issue 9, due out at the end of the month) will feature another new Peter Beagle story, a Japanese fable titled, "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Publisher's Weekly reviews IGMS antho

I should be writing a review of ConCarolinas, which I attended last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed - and hopefully I will do so sooner rather than later - but in the mean time here's the review from Publisher's Weekly about the forthcoming IGMS antho.

Yeah, I'm grinnin'.

Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show

Edited by Edmund R. Schubert and Orson Scott Card. Tor, $15.95 paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2000-1

The first collection of short stories from online magazine Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show (, launched in 2005, features noteworthy SF and fantasy stories from a bumper crop of talented new authors. Four new Enderverse stories from Card will initially draw genre fans, but the stories from lesser-known writers are the compilation's real driving force. James Maxey's provocative “To Know All Things That Are in the Earth” takes a decidedly skeptical look at the Rapture; David Farland's “The Mooncalfe” puts an interesting—and unique—spin on oft-trod Arthurian legend; and Tom Barlow's brilliantly sardonic “Call Me Mr. Positive” explores isolation on a deep space mission gone tragically awry. If the quality of these stories is any indication, IGMS has as much promise as the newcomers it showcases. (Aug.)