A good week, if you discount the three rejected short stories

Because that part kind of sucked. Of course, it’s par for the course in this business, but it’s still no fun. At least two of the three were “send us more stuff some time.”

That makes me that much happier that some of my unpublished stories will come out in my self-published anthology, The History Arcane (no release date yet). As I’ve mentioned before, submitting to magazines takes time to review the guidelines, make any odd changes required to the manuscript and of course to read the magazine and see if the story’s a good fit. Self-publishing is unlikely to turn a profit but they’ll be out in the world at last, and that will be great.

(The cover, if you were wondering, is from a story arc dealing with the occult history of America, as is the Dr. Strange below)

Another disappointment this week: I’m postponing my plans to open a store. I’d planned to open a Shopify store and incorporate it with this website, but that costs more money than I have right now. So then I thought I’d go with a stand-alone Shopify store — it’s about $5 a month — but then I bogged down. Picking themes, dealing with legal questions about how much data the store retains (I’d prefer “nothing I don’t need to function” but that’s not an option … I think) and the need to pay extra for more apps to do this or that. I’ll stick with making the store part of this website as I’m familiar with the environment. I’ll wait until it’s time to renew my domain name and then upgrade my plan. That’ll also give me time to work out some details.

The writing went well. Normally I don’t rewrite first drafts as I go, but I went back over the first five chapters of Let No Man Put Asunder and got part of Six done. It was a wise choice as a couple of things I planned to do in Chapter Six I’d already done earlier in the book. Now, though, I think they’ve had enough of “run, get attacked, fight back” so I need to change things up. I’m not quite sure how yet.

I rewrote Mage’s Masquerade and it’s much improved. However I’m still not sure it’s improved enough: the romantic arc works but the murder mystery still hinges on a couple of handwaves. Fixable but, again, I’m not sure how.

I took a look at one of my older, unfinished stories, The Cheap Assassin, and found it frustrating. It’s got a great opening and I know there’s a killer story there, but at the moment I can’t see how to unearth it. But it’s much easier to try when I’m confident something is there.

I worked on History Arcane, drafting an introduction and collecting the stories. The total’s about 90,000 words so I may opt to take a couple out and make it smaller and cheaper. Or maybe not.

And I took up part of the week doing our taxes. They’re unusually complicated this year and I can’t quite believe we owe as much as my figures say. But part of my reason for doing them early was so that I have time to double-check everything; indeed, I already shaved the bill down by correcting a couple of mistakes.

A minor win: I have consistently put in more than my self-imposed minimum of 30 hours a week every week this month. This is a good thing as my time management has been running in the opposite direction in recent months.

So that was my week, bring on the weekend. To close this column, here’s our ever vigilant guard dog, Trixie, alert to the scent of evil.#SFWApro. Covers by Tom Mandrake (top) and Gene Colan, all rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Short Stories, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

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