Almost finished with draft of “The Alchemist of Liberty”

Closing in on the penultimate draft of “The Alchemist of Liberty“. I only have to re-visit the mob/crowd scene and I’ll be done with this draft, which is pretty much all of the heavy lifting. One more fast pass and I’ll be handing it off to my copy editor. So I am thinking that it will be submission ready by the end of the year. As AoL is a sequal of sorts to “The Shaper’s Daughter“, I’ll be submitting it to the same market that I sent SD.

Various (and a couple of Happy Birthdays!)

I’ve been head-down and focused on writing for last few days (as well as a number of things, see below) and haven’t gotten around to posting recently. So, what have I been up to?

A bit of birthday prep (Merideth insisted on going out last night to buy a gift and it turned into a full shopping run). Happy birthday Gretchen! And…

Happy birthday Gretchen!

(OK, an explanation may be in order here. My wife and sister share the same name and have birthdays eight days apart.)

Work proceeds on “The Alchemist of Liberty“, a albeit slower, as I was struck with inspiration for a new short story over the weekend and ended up starting it. Not too far into it, but it is already nicely integrating into the Chronicles from the Nexus.

Looking forward to getting together with Jenn this coming Friday.  I don’t think I’ve seen here since the 2000 Chicon/Worldcon.

Writers’ group report

Yesterday evening was our second meeting in the Great Lakes Coffee and Chocolate Co. off Jackson Rd. and they once again accommodated us without complaint.  I trotted out my new opening for “The Alchemist of Liberty” and it went over well.  I’ve started to notice when I (finally) work out the right starting point for a story.  It is difficult to define, but I know when I pretty much have it nailed.  I felt that way when I stumbled on the first person framing narrative for “The Shaper’s Daughter” and I feel that way about Sir Tristan and Teal on upper observation deck of the zeppelin Waking Dream, both of which I was influenced to put together by comments from the writers’ group (not with standing that not many people in the group liked the first person framing of the “The Shaper’s Daughter”).

Writers’ group report

Yesterday evening we had our first writers’ group meeting at the Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee Co. (located on Jackson Rd. in Ann Arbor) rather than the standard location at Borders in Arborland (‘Tis the season and all, so Borders, who are quite gracious hosts, would rather not have us around for November and December). The topic of agents and editors who blog came up, as well as writing query letters and pitches. I wanted to share the interesting blog entry by eeknight on character based pitches (which is the excuse for this bit of blogging) so check out my prior blog entry on this here (see second paragraph). I also mentioned DeepGenre, which has the interesting ‘13-line critiques‘, which I am not sure that it is still active as the last submitted critique was in 2006, but the archive of 177 critiques is interesting.

I read another excerpt from “The Alchemist of Liberty” (sorry not much behind that link yet) and received some good feedback which has, luckily or not, started me writing a new opening scene (and I was reading in the middle of the story!).


  • I picked up Gentleman of the Road and The Pirate Queen today.  They look interesting.
  • Dropped by a signing for my friend Chris’ book Detroit Noir today.  There was quite a turnout of the authors.
  • Figured out how to not create a maintenance nightmare for my glossaries in MediaWiki by using templates.  Perhaps not what templates were intended for, but it works.
  • Finished researching cover letters for submitting to magazines.  Now writing one for “The Shaper’s Daughter” will be pretty easy.
  • Been reading about the 7-point plot structure and variations.

htaccess rewrite rules & WikiMedia hacking

After an hour or so of hacking away at Apache htaccess rewrite rules and WikiMedia hacking and I have eliminated the ugly ‘index.php?title=’ from the wiki urls. Which means you can now write nice urls like (and the old will still work).
Code samples below the cut.
Continue reading “htaccess rewrite rules & WikiMedia hacking”

Preparing to submit “The Shaper’s Daughter”

As I prepare to submit “The Shaper’s Daughter” to one of the SF mags, I am contemplating how to write the cover letter. I remember reading that you should keep your cover / submission letter short and simple and allow the story to sell itself. I’ve looked around for where I read that, but haven’t been able to find it. In the process, I’ve noted that there isn’t, or at least I haven’t come across, much in the way of advice for writing cover / submission letters for magazines. Queries (to agents and editors), on the other hand, are much easier to find. Maybe I just haven’t worked out the proper search terms for this sort of advice.